Jun 142015
 

Another power-house lesson in Relief Society today… What a great blessing it is, to share our stories, perspectives, and love for the Gospel.

Today we learned from Lesson #10 in The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson manual.

Flooding the Earth and Our Lives with the Book of Mormon

Think about flooding for a minute. No sprinkling here – no, a honest-to-goodness flood. Everything gets saturated! What would it look like if your life was “flooded” with the Book of Mormon? Would it look like snatching a verse here or there, once in a while? Probably not. Would it look like savoring each word, pondering the messages, sharing those stories with your children and grandchildren, applying those principles into your life? Would it feel like Christmas morning every time you reached for that book? Yeah. Something more like that.

We broke off into 4 different groups and each group read and discussed together a part of that lesson, while pondering these questions:

I was surprised how much more I learned from what we read together, just keeping those questions in the back of my mind.
What gospel principle(s) are being taught or learned?
What scripture(s) relate to these principles?
How can we apply this principle in our everyday lives?

And guess what! Having spent time working through our section in our group, and having heard what the other groups came up with and shared, I found that this mindset carried over into my scripture study tonight — because of course I was much more inspired to make that a priority this evening. I found myself being drawn to my Book of Mormon like my kids are drawn to candy. Love it! Let’s make this last! THANK YOU, Relief Society!

Below you’ll find some of the fantastic quotes that were mentioned today… But I hope you’ll find time to go ahead and study that lesson, because pretty much every thing in there was quotable!

What’s in it for me?
There is a power in the book which will begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a serious study of the book. You will find greater power to resist temptation. You will find the power to avoid deception. You will find the power to stay on the strait and narrow path. The scriptures are called “the words of life” (D&C 84:85), and nowhere is that more true than it is of the Book of Mormon. When you begin to hunger and thirst after those words, you will find life in greater and greater abundance.7

Closer to Christ
My beloved brethren and sisters, let us read the Book of Mormon and be convinced that Jesus is the Christ. Let us continually reread the Book of Mormon so that we might more fully come to Christ, be committed to Him, centered in Him, and consumed in Him.

How often do I really need this?
Now the spirit, as well as the body, is in need of constant nourishment. Yesterday’s meal is not enough to sustain today’s needs. So also an infrequent reading of “the most correct of any book on earth,” as Joseph Smith called it, is not enough. (History of the Church,4:461.)

In case you hadn’t noticed…
We are meeting the adversary every day. The challenges of this era will rival any of the past, and these challenges will increase both spiritually and temporally. We must be close to Christ, we must daily take His name upon us, always remember Him, and keep His commandments.10

Monumental!
In this age of the electronic media and the mass distribution of the printed word, God will hold us accountable if we do not now move the Book of Mormon in a monumental way.

Sis. W mentioned, towards the end of the lesson, that sometimes sin life our challenges SEEM really big and overwhelming… but in reality, they aren’t. The adversary tries so hard to pull us apart (our families, our faith, our sanity…) — and the Book of Mormon can help bring clarity in those moments, reminding us of people and prophets who have faced and overcome even bigger challenges than what we are dealing with now.

I’d like to add to that thought, though, that sometimes in our lives, our challenges and trials REALLY ARE massive, they really are difficult, no matter how you look at it… and there is strength, there are solutions, there is peace and an added measure of patience to be found in the Book of Mormon.

So, sisters, I hope that whoever you are, whatever is going on in your life, you’ll be able to find increased faith and the answers you need by bringing more of the Book of Mormon into your life, your family, and the world, this week and forever!

Source: L7 Relief Society

May 242015
 

Aloha Sisters!

How I love you and am thankful that I get time to share a bit of today’s uplifting, encouraging, and instructive lesson. Sis Spring did an excellent job encouraging discussion and helping us use our brains to figure out how we can apply the lesson directly into our lives. Love it!

So without further ado, here’s a link to the talk she based her lesson on:
Choose Wisely

And in case you don’t have time to read the whole thing right now, here’s the wonderful video edit our teacher put together to show at various points throughout the lesson. 

Just imagine having been handed a printout of one of 4 stories from this talk, and then given some time to read it and think about coming up with a question about that story… Some kind of question prompted by that story. I was surprised how much brainpower that took! What? I had to think? YES! And it was awesome. I found, with my brain turned on, it was like I had some kind of “apply this to your life” filter activated.

So, sisters, I encourage you to take a few minutes, like we did today, and pause the video when Elder Cook finishes a story… Think a little. What questions can you come up with that might help you dig a little deeper into what he’s talking about? Are there simple things you can change? A quote or an idea that might help you in your day-to-day efforts to stay focused on the Savior?

Here are a few of the questions that our sisters shared today, based on the principles taught in these stories:

What excuses am I making that are keeping me from learning to do better in the future?

How will the Lord bless you in your efforts, if you don’t put forth any effort!

My kids may be really young right now, but what am I doing (and what can I do) to help them be better prepared for their missions?

Are you, right now, in a position that your short-term focus is going to impact your long-term goals?
-If so (and probably we all are) in what way can you focus your attention so that your daily actions are going to help you achieve those long-term goals?
Source: L7 Relief Society

Mar 222015
 

It’s time again to usher in General Conference with…
The General Women’s Session
for all women and girls age eight and older

Saturday, March 28, at 2:00 p.m.
in the Back Chapel

Yummy refreshments to follow!

There will be a rebroadcast the next evening for those who missed it
(or for those who just can’t get enough!)
on Sunday March 29 @6pm, again in the back chapel
Source: L7 Relief Society

Mar 222015
 

…to Relief Society! 

Come join us on Wednesday, March 25, at 7pm
for a celebration of the organization of Relief Society

(If you volunteered to bring something yummy, please remember!)

See you there!

Source: L7 Relief Society

Sep 232014
 
For those of you who couldn’t be there – we had a pretty sweet lesson in Relief Society yesterday.  (pun intended, bwahahaha!)  On the table at the front was a large mixing bowl, surrounded by the ingredients you would use to make cookies.  Oil, flour, salt, sugar… You know the drill.
Our teacher called someone up to the front, decked them out in a “Texas” cooking apron, and had them read a recipe.  For each item read, however, Sis. R gave them a surprise-ingredient to put in the bowl.  Instead of “flour,” she had her helper dump in a baggy of flowers!  Instead of “baking soda” (so boring, right?), she opened up a can of soda pop to pour all over the flowers.  As you can imagine, the resulting mess when it was all over looked anything but edible!
(especially with the car oil instead of vegetable oil… oh, wow.  Yuck!)
The point being, if you don’t follow the directions, the recipe is not going to work.
In life, if we don’t follow the commandments God has given us, we really are not going to be happy in the end. 
She shared a great story from the life of Pres. Joseph Fielding Smith, whose teachings we were studying that day.
President Smith once shared an experience that illustrated the change of heart that can come to a person who heeds this warning call:
“I attended a stake conference a number of years ago and spoke on the Word of Wisdom. … When I went to the rear of the building [at the close of the conference,] nearly everybody had left, but a man held out his hand and said:
“‘Brother Smith, that is the first discourse on the Word of Wisdom that I ever liked.’
“I said: ‘Haven’t you heard other discourses on the Word of Wisdom?’
“He said: ‘Yes, but this is the first one that I ever enjoyed.’
“I said: ‘How is that?’
“He said: ‘Well, you see, I am keeping the Word of Wisdom now.’”
That little story shows us how keeping the commandments can change our perspectives and our hearts.  :)
But obedience does more than that…  Here, I’ll let Pres. Smith tell you what I mean.
The Lord has given to man a code of laws that we call the gospel of Jesus Christ. Due to lack of inspiration and spiritual guidance, men may differ in relation to these laws and their application, but there can hardly be a dispute in regard to the fact that such laws do exist, and that all who seek entrance into that kingdom are subject to them.4
We have every truth, every doctrine, every law and requirement, every performance and ordinance needed to save and exalt us in the highest heaven of the celestial world.5
He can’t promise much more than that!  Obedience really does bless our lives in countless ways.
There really are some fabulous quotes in this lesson.  Sis. Rodgers strongly encouraged us to read through the manual so we could see for ourselves, and after having followed that counsel, I would definitely join her in that idea!  Here are a few more of my favorites.
With such a glorious hope before us, can we do less than forsake the evil ways of the world? Shall we not put first in our lives the things of God’s kingdom? Shall we not seek to live by every word that proceedeth forth from his mouth?20

Keep the commandments. Walk in the light. Endure to the end. Be true to every covenant and obligation, and the Lord will bless you beyond your fondest dreams.22
At the end of the lesson, we were blessed by Sis. Rodger’s testimony — and by Bro. Rodgers baking skills, as he had made real chocolate chip cookies for us to enjoy. It was a yummy reminder of the blessings that come by following the directions.    😉
God created us and loves us.  When He gives us commandments like “Thou shalt not bear false witness,” or “Thou shalt not covet” or “Love one another as I have loved you,” it’s not because He’s trying to make our lives miserable or difficult.  He’s telling us how to have peace, happiness, and even joy in this life, right now, and eternal life in the world to come.  Surely we can show him our gratitude and love by trusting him enough to do our best to “live by every word” He gives us.
Thanks, Sis. R, for a wonderful lesson!  

Source: L7 Relief Society

Sep 222014
 

For those of you who couldn’t be there – we had a pretty sweet lesson in Relief Society yesterday. (pun intended, bwahahaha!) On the table at the front was a large mixing bowl, surrounded by the ingredients you would use to make cookies. Oil, flour, salt, sugar… You know the drill.

Our teacher called someone up to the front, decked them out in a “Texas” cooking apron, and had them read a recipe. For each item read, however, Sis. R gave them a surprise-ingredient to put in the bowl. Instead of “flour,” she had her helper dump in a baggy of flowers! Instead of “baking soda” (so boring, right?), she opened up a can of soda pop to pour all over the flowers. As you can imagine, the resulting mess when it was all over looked anything but edible!
(especially with the car oil instead of vegetable oil… oh, wow. Yuck!)

The point being, if you don’t follow the directions, the recipe is not going to work.

In life, if we don’t follow the commandments God has given us, we really are not going to be happy in the end.

She shared a great story from the life of Pres. Joseph Fielding Smith, whose teachings we were studying that day.

President Smith once shared an experience that illustrated the change of heart that can come to a person who heeds this warning call:
“I attended a stake conference a number of years ago and spoke on the Word of Wisdom. … When I went to the rear of the building [at the close of the conference,] nearly everybody had left, but a man held out his hand and said:
“‘Brother Smith, that is the first discourse on the Word of Wisdom that I ever liked.’
“I said: ‘Haven’t you heard other discourses on the Word of Wisdom?’
“He said: ‘Yes, but this is the first one that I ever enjoyed.’
“I said: ‘How is that?’
“He said: ‘Well, you see, I am keeping the Word of Wisdom now.’”
That little story shows us how keeping the commandments can change our perspectives and our hearts. :)

But obedience does more than that… Here, I’ll let Pres. Smith tell you what I mean.
The Lord has given to man a code of laws that we call the gospel of Jesus Christ. Due to lack of inspiration and spiritual guidance, men may differ in relation to these laws and their application, but there can hardly be a dispute in regard to the fact that such laws do exist, and that all who seek entrance into that kingdom are subject to them.4
We have every truth, every doctrine, every law and requirement, every performance and ordinance needed to save and exalt us in the highest heaven of the celestial world.5
He can’t promise much more than that! Obedience really does bless our lives in countless ways.

There really are some fabulous quotes in this lesson. Sis. Rodgers strongly encouraged us to read through the manual so we could see for ourselves, and after having followed that counsel, I would definitely join her in that idea! Here are a few more of my favorites.

With such a glorious hope before us, can we do less than forsake the evil ways of the world? Shall we not put first in our lives the things of God’s kingdom? Shall we not seek to live by every word that proceedeth forth from his mouth?20

Keep the commandments. Walk in the light. Endure to the end. Be true to every covenant and obligation, and the Lord will bless you beyond your fondest dreams.22

At the end of the lesson, we were blessed by Sis. Rodger’s testimony — and by Bro. Rodgers baking skills, as he had made real chocolate chip cookies for us to enjoy. It was a yummy reminder of the blessings that come by following the directions. 😉

God created us and loves us. When He gives us commandments like “Thou shalt not bear false witness,” or “Thou shalt not covet” or “Love one another as I have loved you,” it’s not because He’s trying to make our lives miserable or difficult. He’s telling us how to have peace, happiness, and even joy in this life, right now, and eternal life in the world to come. Surely we can show him our gratitude and love by trusting him enough to do our best to “live by every word” He gives us.

Thanks, Sis. R, for a wonderful lesson!
Source: L7 Relief Society

Sep 152014
 

Aloha Sisters!
Just a quick announcement —

Tuesday, Sept. 16, 7pm @the RS room
Relief Society Mtg about more emergency preparedness stuff
We’ll have a class about 72 hour kits and another about a little-known water purification technique

Refreshments will be served afterward.
Come! And, yes, bring friends!

If you can, let the RS Presidency know if you’re bringing friends so that we can plan for refreshments.

Source: L7 Relief Society

Aug 312014
 

A little late now, since that meeting was a few weeks ago, but better late than never! :) We had an excellent class on Emergency Preparedness, and I learned some new things. It was nice to have a forum like that where we could share things we learned in our last “hurricane dress rehearsal” and those who presented were (appropriately) very well prepared. (Oh, I’m so funny!)

Speaking of food storage specifically, we covered 3 problems people often face when trying to build up food storage.
1. Money — 
- Follow sale cycles, and when something is on sale, buy more than you need. Someone suggested buying 5, and mentioned that by the time they run out, the item is on sale again. I think I’d been married for 8 years before I found out that sales run in cycles that repeat themselves. Really?! Cool.
- Another suggestion was that every time you go shopping, by just one thing for food storage. One extra bottle of BBQ sauce, one extra can of Spam, whatever. It’ll add up and make a difference, but it’s not going to hit your wallet too hard.
- Another person mentioned that you can often find food cheaper on amazon.com. Great idea!

1. Space 
People shared clever places they keep food storage. Someone pulled their couch 6 inches away from the wall and kept boxes of food storage behind it. Awesome! There’s also the old, failsafe, under-the-bed trick. 
Wherever you keep it, make sure you rotate it! Food here just doesn’t keep as well as it does in other areas of the world. 

2. Don’t know how
… And that’s why we were there, right? :) 
- Foil sealed foods especially seem to not last here. One of the sisters there had purchased those buckets-of-dehydrated-food from Costco (and elsewhere). You know the type? “25-year shelf life!” Well, one year they thought it would be a good idea to break one open & try it out at ward camp, and found that every singe package in all 7 of their buckets had gone totally, disgustingly bad. The buckets were no more than 6 or 7 years old! Eek! Great to know!!! 

These are some excellent books on the subject that Sis. C found at the BYUH Library. I’m especially looking at that “Food Storage for the Clueless” — but they all looked great. :)

Prophetic Statements on Food Storage for Latter-day Saints
Neil H. Leash
BX 8643.2.L481 p1999

Food Storage for the Clueless
Clark L. and Kathryn H. Kidd
TX 601.K53 1999

I Can’t Believe It’s Food Storage
Crystal Godfrey
TX 833.5.G62 2009

12 Steps to Build Your Own Personal ARK
Emily Freeman
TX 601.F7 2003

Another book I’ve loved is a recipe book called “Marlene’s Magic with Food Storage,” by Marlene Petersen. The recipes are all “made from food storage” type recipes, and most of the ones I’ve tried are really yummy, and she also has useful information about food-stuff like sprouting, nutrition, shelf life, etc.

There were a few more things discussed that will (hopefully!!!) make it here to the blog — but my time has run out tonight. Feel free to contact me if you have anything specific you’d like me to put up here on the blog for our sisters to know. :)


Source: L7 Relief Society

Aug 262014
 

Aloha once again, Sisters.

YES! I know what you’re thinking — Finally! Another one of those uplifting, help-you-feel-like-you-were-there-if-you-missed-it blog posts! And, yes, actually, that is indeed what we have here! Ironically, I wasn’t there either. This post is actually brought to you by the the incomparable… Well, I was going to say her name, but I like to keep things a little anonymous here since it’s public. Sis. L. She rocks. And she took great notes for me, typed them up, included links and everything… And here they are!

Til next week,
Sis. Smith

I wish I could capture for you how awesome Relief Society was today. How tender and uplifting the Spirit was as our Sisters shared their impressions and experiences, but honestly…I lack the skill for such writing…so instead here are my notes. I hope they are enough!

Sister Spring started by having us watch the following #HowToDad video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6GYxH2-WeZY

She posed the question – Why are people connecting with this commercial? (See almost 1.2 million views on youtube and 5.5K likes)

Responses included:
1. It teaches a lesson without being to preachy
2. It does not make parents look dumb, which is nice in a world where media often portrays parents as not present, incompetent, silly, dumb, etc.
3. Represents an ideal that speaks to us, that we connect with and want to reach.
4. It represents truth – even though our own father’s may not have done all of the things shown in the commercial, or even done them well, it still speaks to the truth that we have love and admiration for our own fathers and what they did do for us, and how we feel about them.
5. Speaks to young men that it is good to grow up and be a dad/father, and this is some of what it looks like.
6. One sister ask, what this commercial might mean to those who were raised by a single mom, or in a home without a father figure – Sis. Hall responded that one of the wonderful things about the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that even if you do not have a Dad in your home/life, in the Gospel we have the Priesthood.

We then watched this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=leuBP-SmFdI
(*side note – fun to see some of our community and local families in this video:-D)

One quotation I appreciated from the video was from a single mother who said, “ being a member of the Church is being a member of a family as well.

Sister Spring also utilized material from an October 2009 General Conference talk delivered by Elder David A. Bednar – More Diligent and Concerned at Home

https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2009/10/more-diligent-and-concerned-at-home?lang=eng

Elder Bednar gave 3 suggestions as to how we can be more diligent and concerned at home:
1. Suggestion One: Express love – and show it.
a. “President Thomas S. Monson recently counseled: “Often we assume that [the people around us] must know how much we love them. But we should never assume; we should let them know. … We will never regret the kind words spoken or the affection shown. Rather, our regrets will come if such things are omitted from our relationships with those who mean the most to us” (“Finding Joy in the Journey,” Liahona and Ensign, Nov. 2008, 86).”

b. Elder Bednar – “Sometimes in a sacrament meeting talk or testimony, we hear a statement like this: ‘I know I do not tell my spouse often enough how much I love her. Today I want her, my children, and all of you to know that I love her.’

Such an expression of love may be appropriate. But when I hear a statement like this, I squirm and silently exclaim that the spouse and children should not be hearing this apparently rare and private communication in public at church! Hopefully the children hear love expressed and see love demonstrated between their parents in the regular routine of daily living. If, however, the public statement of love at church is a bit surprising to the spouse or the children, then indeed there is a need to be more diligent and concerned at home.”

c. Thought from sisters on expressing love –
i. Sis. Berardy grew up in a home and culture where expressions of love were not common. They did not say, “I love you.” When she and Bro. Berardy were married she explained this to him. When her children came along her husband encouraged her to express love to her children, to tell them she loved them. This has taught her children to express love and share their love with her. She also shared that on one trip back to the Philippines her husband encouraged her to express her love to her father. This was really difficult for her, however, at the airport, she took her father’s hand and told him “I love you.” She said tears came to her eyes and she felt both happy, that she had expressed her love, and also a bit guilty ( I think because she had not said that to him before/more often.)

ii. Sis. Amanda Wallace shared that she personally does not have a hard time expressing her love to her family members, however she has a daughter-in-law who has difficulty expressing love. Even though her daughter-in-law struggled, Sis. Wallace continued to express her love to this daughter. One day, as a result of saying I love you to her daughter-in-law, her daughter-in-law was able to open herself up to Sis. Wallace and share some of the things of her own heart with Sis. Wallace. This was unexpected and has strengthened their relationship.

iii. Sometimes we use culture as a crutch to not express our affection.

iv. Also be aware that different cultures express love differently

1. Sis. Spring shared the example of her Peruvian Sister-in-law who was raised in a culture where you kiss on the cheek as a sign of affection. Because Sister Spring’s mom did not kiss on the cheek, it caused some tension in their family relationship.

v. When you express love – mean it, make sure it’s not white noise.

2. Suggestion Two: Bear Testimony – and Live It
a. Elder Bednar – “The bearing of testimony need not be lengthy or eloquent. And we do not need to wait until the first Sunday of the month to declare our witness of things that are true. Within the walls of our own homes, we can and should bear pure testimony of the divinity and reality of the Father and the Son, of the great plan of happiness, and of the Restoration.

Brethren and sisters, when was the last time you bore testimony to your eternal companion? Parents, when was the last time you declared your witness to your children about the things you know to be true? And children, when was the last time you shared your testimony with your parents and family?”

b. Elder Bednar – “We should remember that bearing a heartfelt testimony is only a beginning. We need to bear testimony, we need to mean it, and most importantly we need consistently to live it. We need to both declare and live our testimonies.”

c. Insights from Sisters on bearing testimony to family.

i. Sister Spring shared a very powerful example of her own mother who, as she got older, would often bear her testimony to everyone! She shared two specific experiences – the first was with her bro. in law who is a wonderful man but is not a member. This brother would often spend time at his mother-in-law’s house doing work on her home and giving service. One day she heard her mother testify to this Brother-in-law, (something to the effect of) Steven, when Christ comes again you will fall to your knees and proclaim (that he is your king – you may want to follow up with Sis. Spring on the language here – it was really beautiful but for some reason I only wrote down part of it.)
ii. Another example Sis. Spring shared was of a long-time friend of hers who was recently rebaptized and able to again receive and renew his Temple covenants after 30 years away from the Church. He shared with Sis. Spring that every time he visited her mother’s home, Sis. Spring’s mother would share her testimony with this friend. He said that sometimes it was awkward, but he was always touched by those moments.

iii. I shared the example of a friend of mine whose family, in addition to their family gospel study and prayer, would have time for family testimony every Sunday evening. These were never very long (depending on who wanted to share) and sometimes individuals were called upon, and other times they volunteered to share. I remember one specific time I was there and the mother of this family (who was generally on the quieter side) shared her testimony and expressed that she often did not bear her testimony in public, but that she was grateful to take the opportunity during family testimony time so that her children would be able to hear her personal testimony. These were powerful family moments.

iv. Sis. Berard shared that during the lesson she realized that every morning at seminary she bears testimony to other people’s children but does not feel as if she says it enough to her own children and needs to bear her testimony to her own children.

3. Suggestion Three – Be Consistent
a. “In my office is a beautiful painting of a wheat field. The painting is a vast collection of individual brushstrokes—none of which in isolation is very interesting or impressive. In fact, if you stand close to the canvas, all you can see is a mass of seemingly unrelated and unattractive streaks of yellow and gold and brown paint. However, as you gradually move away from the canvas, all of the individual brushstrokes combine together and produce a magnificent landscape of a wheat field. Many ordinary, individual brushstrokes work together to create a captivating and beautiful painting.

Each family prayer, each episode of family scripture study, and each family home evening is a brushstroke on the canvas of our souls. No one event may appear to be very impressive or memorable. But just as the yellow and gold and brown strokes of paint complement each other and produce an impressive masterpiece, so our consistency in doing seemingly small things can lead to significant spiritual results. “Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great” (D&C 64:33). Consistency is a key principle as we lay the foundation of a great work in our individual lives and as we become more diligent and concerned in our own homes.”

Final Video – Video Presentation – “I Am a Child of God”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4-CthYXrl4

*Just some of my thoughts during the video:
1. We are children of God
2. We are a part of HIS eternal family
3. Tell/teach EVERYONE that they are children of a loving Heavenly Father, who is God.
4. PLEASE teach me all that I must DO, to live WITH HIM someday!

Source: L7 Relief Society

Aug 152014
 
It’s Thursday night, over that mid-week hump now and sliding down towards the weekend – huzzah! – But I know just what could make this weekend sparkle even brighter for you.
What’s that, you’re thinking?

Taking a look at this chapter in the Joseph Fielding Smith manual!  Yes!  You know you want to!  
— And I’m really hoping that I do, in fact, have the right chapter for this week’s lesson in Relief Society.  That would be a smidge bit embarrassing if I got it wrong, wouldn’t it?  
Almost as bad as making an announcement (and showing up 10 minutes late) for a meeting that didn’t happen.  Hahahahaha, OOPS.  
Sisters serving on the RS Board, we’ll have to wait until a later date for those super-powers.   😉

Source: L7 Relief Society

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