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.