Monday, February 13, 2012

Feast Like a Flamingo

I was trying to get a talk written to give in sacrament meeting.  I was struggling to put it all together and then I got home to a letter one day.  This letter was the answer to my prayers.  It was the perfect article to use for my talk.  I was so happy that I nearly jumped for joy.  I wanted to share the talk with you!  Hope you enjoy and that it changes your perspective on feasting a little bit.
As you begin reading I want you to think of a huge feast.  It can be whatever you want it to be.  Maybe for you it's Thanksgiving dinner.  For my brother and I it would be chocolate waffles with a hefty amount of moose tracks ice cream on them.  Whatever it is you love you can have it at this feast.  Now that you have this picture in your mind I want you to think of how you're going to dish up.  Are you going to meagerly put some food on your plate or are you going to load it to heaping full, so full that it's falling off the sides are you walk back to the table?  Now, you've sat down, said your prayer and you're ready to begin. How are you eating?  Are you sheepishly picking at your plate not really eating much, or are you digging in?!  Is your face dirty?  Are you going back for seconds?  How about thirds?  You're finished now.  If you're like me you're stuffed to the brim.  You're full and you're happy!
We can feast on food, but there's something more.  Our spirit yearns for a good feast.  The best part of feasting spiritually:  it's calorie free!  You can "feast" all you want and not worry about your figure!  In fact 2 Nephi 9:51 says:  Wherefore, do not spend money for that which is of no worth, nor your labor for that which cannot satisfy.  Hearken diligently unto me, and remember the words which I have spoken; and come unto the Holy One of Israel, and feast upon that which perisheth not, neither can be corrupted, and let your soul delight in fatness.  Focus on the let your souls delight in fatness!  We don't have to keep our spirits trim!
In the January 2012 New Era there was an article titled:  Feast Like a Flamingo.  Did you know that flamingos are pink because of their diet?  Flamingos "feast" on brine shrimp and algae that are high in betacarotine.  Betacarotine is a pigment that causes a yellow, orange, or pink color.  So, in reality if a flamingo decided to change his diet to trout he would also change his coloring from pink to white.  If a flamingo was white we probably wouldn't even realize it was a flamingo.  Does what we spiritually feast on change how others identify us?  2 Nephi 31:20 says:  Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men.  Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father:  Ye shall have eternal life.  We are encouraged to "press forward feasting on the words of Christ."  Many people of other faiths describe us as having a glow or a light in our eyes.  Could that be the result of our feasting?  Instead of being bright pink we receive light from Christ.  We can be identified as disciples of Christ by this light.
A flamingo is pink because he eats what he should, but if he stops eating this he will become ill and pale.  If we stop feasting spiritually on the words of Christ we will become spiritually ill and lose that bright, godly countenance.  We will no longer be recognized as disciples of Jesus Christ, just as no one would notice a white flamingo.  A great example of spiritual feasting is Elder Nelson (in the quorum of the 12 apostles).  He shared this story.  I believe that these colleagues recognized a light in his eyes.  Here is his story: 
Many years ago two colleagues of mine—a nurse and her doctor husband—asked me why I lived the way I did. I answered, “Because I know the Book of Mormon is true.” I let them borrow my copy of the book, inviting them to read it. A week later they returned my book with a polite “thanks a lot.”
I responded, “What do you mean, thanks a lot? That’s a totally inappropriate response for one who has read this book. You didn’t read it, did you! Please take it back and read it; then I would like my book back.”
Admitting that they had only turned its pages, they accepted my invitation. When they returned, they said tearfully, “We have read the Book of Mormon. We know it is true! We want to know more.” They learned more, and it was my privilege to baptize both of them.
As we have experiences that strengthen our testimonies we desire for our friends and family to have this gospel.  In Doctrine and Covenants 11:21 we are told:  Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word, yea, the power of God unto the convincing of men.   We must be spiritually feasting and then we will have the Spirit to guide us in our conversations and our missionary efforts.  I know that missionary work brings only joy.  If this scripture is right, and it is, then missionary work begins with spiritual feasting.  Spiritual feasting leads to the spirit being with us and to others recognizing us as disciples of Jesus Christ, just as a flamingo's feast makes him easily recognized as a flamingo.  Let our spiritual feasts begin.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Gospel of Jesus Christ and Flowers

 My last companion, Sister Green, and I were asked to be in charge of a Young Women's activity a couple of months ago.   We tried to think of something that the girls would like that we could tie back to the gospel.  Then we remembered, "Oh ya!  Everything points back to the gospel!"  We decided that we would go with a hair flower.  They seem to be in these days, and I love them!  Here's the pattern we used for them.  They turned out cute!  At the bottom of the page you can find the gospel message, which you know you want to look at, and the website that I found this on!

Fabric Flowers
These elegant fabric flowers are very simple to make . . . and only take a few basic supplies. The finished product is delightfully lovely, and at times can look like a real flower! Every flower will turn out differently and that is part of the beauty!
If you haven’t used those tea lights in a while, now’s the time! I hope you enjoy making these as much as we do . . . below are instructions with pictures on how to make your own.

Fabric Flower Tutorial: Supplies
· Synthetic Silky Fabric
· Scissors
· Candle (preferably a tea light)
Additional supplies:
· Needle and Thread, Glue Dots or Glue Gun
· Buttons and/or Beads
Fabric Flower Tutorial: Step 1
1. Cut circle patterns out of card stock.
Make the largest one’s diameter about half an inch larger than you want the diameter of the flower, as the petals will end up shrinking a bit. Create a few of these, lessening the diameter bit by bit so that the end result has smaller petals in the center and larger ones around the outside. You can also use a pattern here, which works very nice!

Fabric Flower Tutorial: Step 2
2. Trace around the pattern onto the silk fabric (using a pen).
You can also cut around the pattern and skip the drawing part, it just might not be as uniform . . . but with these, uniform isn’t necessary. And if it’s not uniform, it adds character. And character is good.

Fabric Flower Tutorial: Step 3
3. Take the scissors and cut out the circle and petals.
Cut just inside the drawn lines to make a circle out of the fabric. Carefully cut only about a third of the way into the circles to create the petals. You can do as many or few petals as you would like, or even add some variety to them. I cut five times, making five medium-sized petals. You can also round the corners of the petals, if you so desire.

Fabric Flower Tutorial: Step 4
4. Use the lit candle to melt and crinkle the edges.
Be very careful (please have adult supervision, this is rather dangerous), as it is very easy to get burnt. Hold the cut petals about one to two inches above the flame, making sure to keep the circle rotating so that it does not overheat and catch fire. Continue to gently melt the edges of each petal until you have gone all the way around. Do this with each layer.

Fabric Flower Tutorial: Step 5
5. Sew (or glue) the petal layers together.
Using a needle and thread, create a beginning knot and then sew the layers together. You can come up through the top because the center  of the top layer can be covered by a button or  bead. To finish the flower, sew (or glue) the button or bead on top.
If you would like to add extra stability to the flower, you can sew or glue a piece of felt onto the back (make sure it is large enough to give good stability, but small enough so that it won’t be seen from the top).
For a hair accessory, you can sew or glue the back of the flower to the back of a bobby pin, ponytail holder, or snap-clip.
For a broach, you can sew or glue them onto a broach pin or even a safety pin.

This pattern is just like the gospel.  There's some steps, pretty simple steps at that.

Step 1: Cut out the pattern, and Trace it.
     We have a loving Heavenly Father that made a plan for us ( the pattern).  We chose to follow it. Making the decision to follow that pattern was like tracing it onto the fabric.  Is the process complete there?  Absolutely not!  We have to keep working at it!

Step 2: Cut the circles out!
     This step represents faith.  It takes faith to know that Heavenly Father's plan for us is the best plan and that we are actually going to follow it.  We must make an effort to follow it.  It doesn't magically happen unless we allow it.

Step 3:  Burn the edges.
     When we say burn you get nervous right?!?  I was leery about  this step when I first saw it, but it's necessary.  If you don't burn the edges the fabric will unravel and your flower won't be a flower anymore.  It will lose the look and effect of a cute little flower.  So, is it pleasant to go through some heat?  You can compare this to repentance.  Sometimes we do wrong things and if we don't take care of them we'll, in a sense unravel.  Repentance, the act of taking care of our wrong deed, is not always easy!  Sometimes it feels like we're being "burned" slightly when we repent.  The outcome of repentance is that we are back on track with Heavenly Father's plan and we can be free from unraveling.

Step 4:  Stack the petals together perfectly :)
      This process is like baptism.  At baptism we are perfectly aligned with God's will for us.  We are completely free from sin.  We are perfect.  We need the next step, or else we will fall apart.  There's not really anything holding us together perfectly yet!

Step 5:  Sew the petals together!
     This is much like receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, or the Spirit as others refer to him.  The spirit helps us to be able to continue doing right things.  He is with us to remind us that we shouldn't be doing that, or that we should be doing something else.  He helps us to stay on the right track and do what our Heavenly Father expects us to be doing.

Step 6:  Glue a hair clip, or broach to the back:
     Without adding the clip or broach to this flower it's kind of worthless.  We aren't going to get the use out of it that we will with this addition to our flower.  This is equal to enduring to the end.  That's a big phrase to basically say, "Keep doing these steps!"  Once we have faith, have repented, are baptized, and have received the gift of the Holy Ghost we are not done.  We must keep doing these things!  If we do we are right on track for what our Heavenly Father wants for us.

Heavenly Father loves us and wants us all to be a "pretty flower".  These 6 steps are the way that we can do this.  I know that sometimes these steps are hard and we want to do it "our own way", but Heavenly Father's plan is perfect for us.  We can become who he wants us to be!

I found this pattern on the website:

Friday, January 20, 2012

Tops and Bottoms

I have decided that perspective is kind of an important thing when it comes to our view on the world.  We can choose to look at the positive or we can choose to look at the negative.  We can choose to complain or we can choose to do something about it.  There are so many different ways that perspective can hurt or help us.  A picture book that I love is Tops and Bottoms. 
In this book Hare and his family are hungry and don't have land to raise a garden on.  Bear is rich and lazy, but he has enough land to put a garden on.  Hare makes a deal with Bear- Hare will farm the land for half the crop.  The first year the deal is that Hare will get the bottoms and Bear will get the tops.  So Hare plants: beets, carrots, and radishes.  Bear doesn't get anything but bare plants.  He gets nothing to sustain him for the winter.  The next year Bear insists that he get the bottoms, so Hare plants:  broccoli, lettuce, and celery.  Bear, yet again, gets nothing to sustain him through the winter.  Life seems to be like this sometimes.  We want the easy way out.  We want all the benefits of working hard without really working.  Now, I'm not saying that what Hare did was honest, but Bear could have prevented this by getting out and helping Hare.  Sometimes, we want to be sustained through winter without trying.  We have to prepare for the winter and then we will be taken care of.  Heavenly Father can't do all of the work and we get all of the benefits.  This is our time to learn and to grow, to struggle and to be shaped.  If we work hard to prepare for things then will we have sufficient for our needs.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Do you ever feel like life is far different than you expected?  I know that there have been times that it didn't seem to be what I thought it would be.  As I look at this picture from my high school graduation trip I realize that so often things don't appear to be what they look like (thankfully for me in this picture).  In this picture I look like I'm extremely short.  I'll admit I'm short, but not that short.  I stand at a lofty 5' 1".  When I knelt down like my friend the wood choked me, so I was forced to stand.  I know it looks ridiculous, but it's not what it appears!  I'll be the first to admit that life sometimes is not what it appears.  I do, however, know that life is always what Heavenly Father wants it to be for us.  Sometimes it's hard and sometimes it's easy, but it's always right.  Heavenly Father knows exactly what we need.  He'll never give us something that he shouldn't.  We'll always be better for the times that don't seem to be what we expected.  Sometimes when we look back the times make sense and we see why we needed them, but at the time our perspective is far different.  When we're in the heat of the moment it's hard to see the whole picture and not just the pixel that's taking place right then.  The next time you're having a hard day think about perspective and know that it's all in Heavenly Father's hands!  HE LOVES YOU!!!!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Something from... well T-shirts

 This t-shirt doesn't seem to have a whole ton of appeal, just a simple t-shirt.  It doesn't feel like anything special.  Do you ever feel that way?  Some days we seem to wake up and feel like we're just a yellow-striped t-shirt, but on those days we need to remember that we are children of our loving Heavenly Father.  We have infinate potential.  We can be transformed from a plain old t-shirt into something else. 
This shirt can go from just an old t-shirt to a fancy scarf.  Does it take some work?  Yes!  Does it take some pain?  Yes!  Is it an easy process?  No, there's multiple steps and you have to use your brain! Does it hurt?  Possibly, you have to cut the t-shirt into strips and then pull on it so that it curls in, then you have to be creative and tie some into braids and make them different lengths and make it look just how you want.  Then last of all you have to tie, trim, and wrap it so it stays together how you want it to.  
We all know I don't write a blog to explain how to make crafts, but as I contemplated the steps to making something it occurred to me that as we allow the Lord to create with us what he wants we will turn out to be something miraculous and wonderful (far better than any scarf will ever be).  It may not be easy to follow our Heavenly Father's counsel, but I know that as we do he will bless us and turn us into something beautiful.  We are not here just to go through life, but to learn, grow and be molded into the person our Heavenly Father knows we can be.  So when times get hard and we wake up and feel like an ugly old t-shirt just remember that with Heavenly Father leading the design we can become a fancy scarf.  We can go from practically nothing to something!  I know that Heavenly Father loves us and is aware of each and every one of us.  He allows things to come our way to shape us and make us.  He hasn't forgotten you and HE NEVER WILL!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christ and Santa... Why can't we be friends?!?

I got a letter from a friend the other day and she shared this story with me.  I loved it so much that I decided you all needed to hear it.  I think we mistake Santa for something bad, when he is really trying to bring a spirit of Christ into the season.

She writes:
I remember my first Christmas adventure with Grandma.  
I was just a kid.  
I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her on the day my big sister dropped the bomb: "There is no Santa Calus," she jeered.  "Even dummies know that."
My Grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been.  I fled to her that day because I knew she would be straight with me.  I knew Grandma always told the truth, and I knew that the truth always went down a whole lot easier when swallowed with one of her "world-famous" cinnamon buns.  I knew they were world-famous, because Grandma said so.  It had to be true.

Grandma was home, and the buns were still warm.  Between bites I told her everything.  She was ready for me.  "No Santa Claus?" she snorted.... "Ridiculous!  Don't believe it.  That rumor has been going around for years, and it makes me mad, plain mad!!  Now, put on you coat, and let's go."

"Go?  Go where, Grandma?"  I asked.  I hadn't even finished my second world-famous cinnamon bun.  "Where" turned out to be Kerby's General Store, the one store in town that had a little bit of just about everything.  As we walked through it's doors Grandma handed me ten dollars.  That was a bundle in those days.  "Take this money," she said, "and buy something for someone who needs it.  I'll wait for you in the car."  Then she turned and walked out of Kerby's.

I was only eight years old.  I'd often gone shopping with my mother, but never had I shopped for anything all by myself.  The store seemed big and crowded, full of people scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping.

For a few moments I just stood there, confused, clutching that ten-dollar bill, wondering what to buy, and who on earth to buy it for.

I was just about thought out, when I suddenly thought of Bobby.  He was a kid with bad breath and messy hair, and he sat right behind me in class.  Bobby didn't have a coat.  I knew that because he never went out to recess during the winter.  His mother always wrote a note, telling the teacher that he had a cough, but all the kids knew that Bobby didn't have a cough; he didn't have a good coat.  I fingered the ten-dollar bill with growing excitement.  I would buy Bobby a coat.  I settled on a red corduroy one that had a hood on it.  It looked really warm, and he would like it.  "Is this a Christmas present for someone?"  the lady behind the counter asked kindly as I laid my ten dollars down.  "Yes, ma'am,"  I replied shyly.  "It's for Bobby."

The nice lady smiled at me as I told her about how Bobby really needed a good winter coat.  I didn't get any change, but she put the coat in a bag, smiled again, and wished me a Merry Christmas.

That evening Grandma helped me wrap the coat (a little tag fell out of the coat and Grandma tucked it in her Bible) in Christmas paper and ribbons and wrote, "To Bobby, From Santa Claus" on it.  Grandma said that Santa always insisted on secrecy.  Then she drove me over to Bobby's house, explaining as we went that I was now and forever officially one of Santa's helpers.  Grandma parked down the street from Bobby's house and she and I crept noiselessly and hid in the bushes by his front walk.  Then Grandma gave me a nudge.  "All right, Santa Claus,"  she whispered, "get going."

I took a deep breath, dashed for the front door, threw the present down on his step, pounded his door and flew back to the safety of the bushes and Grandma.

Together we waited breathlessly in the darkness for the front door to open.  Finally it did, and there stood Bobby.

Fifty years haven't dimmed the thrill of those moments spent shivering beside my Grandma, in Bobby's bushes.  That night I realized that those awful rumors about Santa Claus were just what Grandma said they were-- ridiculous!  Santa was alive and well, and we were on his team.

I still have the Bible, with the coat tag tucked inside:  $19.95.

I see that Santa truly is here to help us think of the Savior, and that is so often misunderstood.  We think of Santa and think of the many presents we hope he brings.  That's not what he truly represents.  As I think of Santa I think of his service and giving.  He works hard all year to be able to bring presents to everyone and make them happy.  He is there to remind us that giving is fun and that we should try to make others happy.  Santa truly should lead us back to Christ.

Merry Christmas!  May we all remember that Christ is the Reason!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Rattlesnake! Beware!

My companion, Sister Green, told me this story a few days ago.  I really like it, so decided to share it with you.
A little boy was walking down a path and he came across a rattlesnake. The rattlesnake was getting old. He asked, "Please little boy, can you take me to the top of the mountain? I hope to see the sunset one last time before I die." The little boy answered "No Mr. Rattlesnake. If I pick you up, you'll bite me and I'll die." The rattlesnake said, "No, I promise. I won't bite you. Just please take me up to the mountain." The little boy thought about it and finally picked up that rattlesnake and took it close to his chest and carried it up to the top of the mountain.

They sat there and watched the sunset together. It was so beautiful. Then after sunset the rattlesnake turned to the little boy and asked, "Can I go home now? I am tired, and I am old." The little boy picked up the rattlesnake and again took it to his chest and held it tightly and safely. He came all the way down the mountain holding the snake carefully and took it to his home to give him some food and a place to sleep. The next day the rattlesnake turned to the boy and asked, "Please little boy, will you take me back to my home now? It is time for me to leave this world, and I would like to be at my home now." The little boy felt he had been safe all this time and the snake had kept his word, so he would take it home as asked.

He carefully picked up the snake, took it close to his chest, and carried him back to the woods, to his home to die. Just before he laid the rattlesnake down, the rattlesnake turned and bit him in the chest. The little boy cried out and threw the snake upon the ground. "Mr. Snake, why did you do that? Now I will surely die!" The rattlesnake looked up at him and grinned, "You knew what I was when you picked me up."

As I thought about this story it reminded me of a past blog I had written, The Edge.  So often we allow ourselves to do something dangerous once and it turns out ok.  Then the next time we are put in that same dangerous position we think it won't be dangerous, so we go for it.  We do know what's right and what's wrong in life.  We each have the light of Christ to guide us!  We know if a situation will put us somewhere we don't want to be, or if it's a perfectly safe situation.  Why would we continue to put ourselves in risky situations?  We may be ok a few times, but eventually the "rattlesnake" will come out and we won't be safe.  Watch what you're doing!  Be safe!  We know the commandments help us to be happy and safe!  Don't push it!