Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Enduring the Signs of the Times

It is hard to ignore the "signs of the times" this year. I haven't mentioned them very much on my blog for no other reason except that they are depressing and they seemed to be happening in far off places. Well, they have hit closer to home and I feel that it is time to mention them. 

My heart and mind have pondered this subject a lot lately. I find myself wondering what will happen next and when it will happen right on my door step. Right now I am talking about the "signs and wonders" of nature. The moral "signs" are a whole post in themselves.  I have also found myself searching through the scriptures and reading about the Nephites in the Book of Mormon as they waited for the signs of Christ's birth and then the signs of his death. I look at the short time frame within those events and it makes me wonder about Father's plan for His Son's second coming. And mostly, it makes me wonder what I really need to do to prepare for, and endure through it all.

Leif and I had a late night talk about this subject. I shared my thoughts and concerns with him and he, being the wise one out of the two of us, put it all into perfect perspective. I had talked about how important it is to focus on the very basics of the gospel right now during the full force battle raging against us. He agreed with me, but he also reminded me that the events happening around us can affect us in two very different ways. It is all a matter of perspective.

1. We can live in fear. Where we are focusing and tallying all of the terribly tragic things that seem to be happening at a more rapid speed then ever. We can wallow in the sorrow of it all and the wickedness. And ultimately, we can despair.
2. We can create a heaven on earth perspective. One where we live the gospel within our homes, and find joy within them. We are aware of the sorrow and disaster around us, but the fear is not overwhelming because our faith is strong. We can serve where and when we can. We can prepare for things to come. But we do not fear. Ultimately, we can rejoice, for we know the end of the story.  This is the path that I will choose!

Now, with this said, I have had one more question. Just how much have things changed within the last 40 years? What about within the last 10 years? How much closer are we to His coming? I know, NO ONE on earth or in heaven know the time except for God the Father. But He has given us a few markers to look for as we exercise faith in Him along the way.

1982 President Ezra Taft Benson: Prepare Yourself for the Great Day of the Lord.
"Every generation, I suppose, sees the time in which they live as being exceptional. The truth of the matter is, you do live in a most exceptional time in the history of mankind. You young people will see events transpire which were prophesied from the beginning of the world. Prophets of old have seen your days and rejoiced in them. And yet, you will face challenges and circumstances, the severity of which has been unparalleled in generations past. For this you must be prepared. ..."

1992 Elder M. Russell Ballard: The Joy of Hope Fulfilled.
"Although the prophecies tell us that these things are to take place, more and more people are expressing great alarm at what appears to be an acceleration of worldwide calamity. As members of the Church, we must not forget the Savior’s admonition, “Be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass.” These are difficult times, when the forces of nature seem to be unleashing a flood of “famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.”..."

2004 Elder Dallin H. Oaks: Preparation for the Second Coming.
"In modern revelation we have the promise that if we are prepared we need not fear (see D&C 38:30). I was introduced to that principle 60 years ago this summer when I became a Boy Scout and learned the Scout motto: “Be prepared.” Today I have felt prompted to speak of the importance of preparation for a future event of supreme importance to each of us—the Second Coming of the Lord. ..."

2011 Elder Russell M. Nelson: Face the Future with Faith.
"We live in a time of turmoil. Earthquakes and tsunamis wreak devastation, governments collapse, economic stresses are severe, the family is under attack, and divorce rates are rising. We have great cause for concern. But we do not need to let our fears displace our faith. We can combat those fears by strengthening our faith. ..."

While reading through these four articles I recognized a shift that took place as the years progressed. Starting in President Benson's article written in 1982 up through the 90's we are being warned about what is to come. From there, we are being comforted through the storms and advised on how to endure them.

Finally, I would like to give myself a reminder of the basics that I will ground my focus upon.

  • Pray: Personal and Family
  • Scriptures: Personal and Family 
  • Temple Attendance
  • Sunday Meetings Attendance
  • Nourishing my Marriage
  • Nourishing my Family
  • Emergency Preparation Supplies
  • Self Reliance
And all of these revolve around HIM

Monday, May 23, 2011

A Real Life Fairy Tale

Tonight we found our little family snuggled together on Mama and Papa's bed and lounging on the chairs near by.  Mama was lathering up the boys with yummy lotion after a nice warm shower. Papa seized the moment and turned on some calming tunes. With this perfect setting Papa began his bedtime story for the boys. Tonight's story was a real life fairy tale. It began something like this, "Once there was a prince who went on a search for his princess. He found her in the island's of Hawaii..." I will have Leif write the story and post it as a follow up to this post. But I just want to share a few of the thoughts and feelings that I had tonight as we closed our day with such a special story.

Before I was married I honestly never let myself daydream about who I might marry and what my life would hold. I knew I longed to be a wife and a mother with every fiber of my being. But I didn't dare dream up the perfect man for me. What if I never found him? This was my biggest fear for many years.

Tonight I need to let you know that I know with out a doubt that our Heavenly Father knows our hearts desire. He knows us! I know  my "fairy tale" might bring heartache to some. I truly ache for these people!  But I would be ungrateful if I didn't thank my Heavenly Father for my Prince Charming and the little princes and princesses that we have been blessed with.

Our journey down life's road so far has not been all "Happily Ever After." But it is far more wonderful then I could have ever dreamed.

The following is our fairy tale beginning story. If you want the "Real Life" Fairy Tale, the one where their Heavenly King reminds them who is the master in their masterpiece, feel free to skip on over to our main side bar story that shares the King and Queen's first not so "fairy tale" trial.

Once upon a time, a prince and princess lived on a paradise island.  The princess loved children and loved going to the beautiful beaches where she would bronze her skin in the glistening sun. The prince worked in a special castle as a healer and people would come from far off places to be healed on this island.

This prince and princess met and during their time together on the paradise island they would often go to the oceans edge, listen to the wave’s crash upon the rocks of the shore, and watch the stars twinkle and the clouds roll across the sky in the wind. One night the prince took the princess on a great vessel upon the ocean where they rode out to sea together and listened to music from the islands. Soon the prince and princess decided they wanted to live happily ever after together and the prince lovingly asked the princess to be his queen. The princess assured him that she wanted this with all of her heart. 

Without delay the prince decided to go with the royal accountant to the royal jeweler to look for a ring for his future queen. He saw piles and piles of gold and diamonds.  The prince wanted something special for the princess so he asked the jeweler to present his best diamonds.  The jeweler showed the prince two beautiful diamonds.  One of the diamonds was huge and the other a bit smaller. However, the second diamond sparkled like the stars in the heaven.  The prince chose this diamond.  Then the jeweler presented two smaller diamonds to fit next to the heavenly one in the center.  The jeweler said that these were called tear drop diamonds, but when place just right next to the center one it formed the shape of an angel.  The prince was pleased. After the ring was set in the jewlers best gold, the royal accountant paid for the ring.

The prince presented the priceless ring to the princess and to celebrate the prince and princess went to the special castle were the prince worked and went to the servants who lathered the prince and princes down in exotic oils and lotions while the court minstrel played music.  Afterwards, they went to a special feast were the cooks prepared a humongous cake covered in the finest ice cream and topped with a river of chocolate syrup.  They finished this off nearly bursting the seams of their finest garments.  

The prince and the princesses’ families were overjoyed that their children had finally found their hearts desires. Before very long, the prince and princess journeyed to their homeland to be married. It was here that the prince and the princess entered into the most sacred of all of their kingdom’s castles to be sealed together as King and Queen for time and for all eternity. Their heavenly king was with them on this day and they promised Him that they would love and cherish Him and one another for all of their days. They promised that one day they would teach their children about the true meaning of love and who brought them together as a family, never to be divided.  

The royal wedding was filled with all of the beauties of heaven and earth. After much celebration, the new king and queen road off into the sunset to begin their life together, and this was only the beginning of a real life fairytale…

Foto Friday May Week 3

This week was filled with strange weather, lot's of books and art work, some sunshine, house work, yard work, school work, and gardening.  Good Times! Enjoy!

Popsicle Sticks! Ahh, the things you can make with those sticks!
Look at that candid smile!
I couldn't find Caleb and I found him in the office reading a book. 
Another Precious Smile!
We had a hail storm that pounded outside this week. 
Cold and Rainy day projects
"Choo Choo! Choo Choo!"
Media Time Sticks. Pick a stick, do the chore, earn some time in front of a screen. 
My Hero! Leif took it upon himself to move the wood pile that we have wanted moved for a long time. It was hard work! 
JJ LOVES being outside and on the ground.
Caleb loves working along side Leif
And the chickens love the new bugs!
Like I said, Caleb loves to work along side Leif. This was a hard job, the vacuum is real. 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Unexpected Events: Tornadoes

I was going to spend my afternoon at my "Thinking Corner" catching up on some fun blog posts. Things like Foto Friday, sharing a Special Award, a Gratitude Post, and more. Instead, I found myself preparing for and  picnicking outside, and keeping up-to-date with one of  the latest natural disasters. Joplin MO was hit with a devastating tornado this evening. I have family who live in and around Joplin Missouri. In fact, my parents live with my uncle in Carthage MO, just outside of Joplin at the moment. So this has hit home in a way.

Luckily all are accounted for and well. Unfortunately, a few of the apartment building's my uncle owns were damaged as well as their Stake Center (the largest church building for the local LDS congregation.) My uncle is the bishop for that area so he is out tonight with his sons and other people surveying the damage and I'm sure helping where he can.  I'm glad that they are okay, and sorry for the huge amount of loss.

So tonight I will go to bed with a prayer in my heart for loved one's near and far. And tomorrow I will take the time to share a few fun things about life closer to home.
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