Friday, June 29, 2012

Daily Manna From Heaven

"Whosoever will may lay hold upon the word of God, which is quick and powerful, which shall divide asunder all the cunning and the snares and the wiles of the devil, and lead the man of Christ in a strait and narrow course across that everlasting gulf of misery...and land their souls, yea, their immortal souls, at the right hand of God in the kingdom of heaven."
– Helaman 3:29-30

In the last few weeks I have become a morning person. I set my alarm so I can get up an hour before any of the kids do. I pour my breakfast drink, sit down at my computer, and pull out my scriptures. This is the time I have to start my day right, studying God's word.

In Exodus, the children of Israel were blessed with manna from heaven. They had to go out early every morning to collect it, and they could only gather enough for that one day, because it wouldn't keep through the night.

"And they gathered it every morning, every man according to his eating: and when the sun waxed hot, it melted."
– Exodus 16:21

I have tried studying my scriptures during different times of the day, but early morning seems to work the best for me. Not only do I have some dedicated, personal time with (almost) no interruptions, but it clears my mind and sets my feet on the Lord's path first thing, before other distractions and responsibilities creep up on my day. If I try to read later in the day, I never have more than one or two minutes to sit by myself before someone or something needs my attention. Like the manna, my opportunity for scripture study has melted away, and I have to try again the next day.

I have also found that daily scripture study does my heart and spirit good. Like a daily ration of manna, it feeds my soul, and fills my belly with peace and comfort. My faith is strengthened as I read gospel truth and study the words of Christ and His prophets. 

I wouldn't ever consider intentionally going without food for an entire day (unless I'm fasting, which I will talk about later.) So why should I consider going without spiritual food for an entire day? Our spirits truly pine for the presence of God, and you can feel this when you read the scriptures and feel your heart rejoice as you read.

I encourage you to start today and read your scriptures daily. Read them early and start your day right with spiritual manna from heaven.

With love,

Thursday, June 28, 2012

SAST Weekly Link Up

Welcome to Sweet and Simple Thursday! Thank you to all the wonderful bloggers who linked up with SAST this past week. I have enjoyed reading all of your posts.

Highlights from last week's link up:

Michaela Stephens shares an interesting insight on de-cluttering our lives. As we acquire "stuff" around the house, sometimes we also have "false projects" - things that could become functional if fixed, but they never do, and instead our lives are filled with clutter. Visit Michaela's post on Scriptorium Blogorium to read more about how projects can be like ravening wolves.

Tara at Keep Moving Forward With Me is having a Summer of Service with her young children. Visit her blog to see some terrific summer service project ideas.

Friday, June 22, 2012

What Our Hands Can Say

"She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy."
– Proverbs 31:19-20

I read a book once about how to "show your spirit" - by how you adorn yourself and your home. One example the author gave was a woman that always wore stacks of bangle bracelets morning and night, so that even while she slept, her spirit would "sing" as her bracelets jangled through the night.

To me this seems like such a shallow way of showing my spirit with my hands. Don't get me wrong, I love to dress up and adorn myself as much as most women. I especially love well-polished nails and I have an assortment of nail polish I enjoy using.

But consider the Proverbs 31 woman and how she shows her spirit with her hands. She has talented hands that can use a distaff and a spindle (I have hands that can use a crochet hook.) She uses her hands to serve and love the poor. Her hands show her spirit as she feeds her family, works in her vineyard, and rises early.

This is a music video of a song by Kenneth Cope called "His Hands".
It's a moving song about how our Savior and Redeemer used His hands to bless all creation. I love it so much.

We can show love, grace, strength, determination, service and faith, all by how we use our hands. What do your hands say about you?

With love,

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

All Things in Wisdom and Order & SAST Link Up Party

Announcing my very first SAST Link Up Party!!

SAST button

But first....

"And see that all things are done in wisdom and order, for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order."
– Mosiah 4:27
I take great comfort in this verse. I struggle, like most women, moms, and wives, with doing everything that is required of me on a daily basis. Having four kids out of school for the summer, it takes a lot of creativity on my part to teach, entertain, and redirect them nonstop. Left to their own devices, the kids would be staring at computer screens for the rest of their lives, so I have to frequently intervene and redirect them to something a little more constructive. I am also trying to keep the house in order and be consistent with my weekly housekeeping schedule. Of course, that is a lot harder with four extra bodies making messes all over the house, and diverting more time to them instead of my chores.

"It is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength."

I try to be very honest with myself and my abilities. I am so NOT Wonder Woman. I have limits! I need naps. Daily. I need caffeine. Every morning. I need a little time in the afternoon to veg with whatever book I'm currently reading. I try to get up before the kids so I can read my scriptures by myself, and have a few minutes to ponder on things of eternal worth.

All of this keeps Mommy sane and happy. And a happy Mommy makes a happy home.

Be wise and honest about your abilities and limits. I do feel that God gave us limits, as well as our talents, because He wants us to grow in wisdom and grace. He wants us to come to Him. He will teach us how to work within our limits and excel at the same time. He knows how it is done. Come unto Him, and win the prize of eternal life.

With love,

Friday, June 15, 2012

Beautiful Examples

"God will support, and keep, and preserve us, so long as we are faithful unto him, and unto our faith, and our religion."
– Alma 44:4

"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."
– Philippians 4:13

Today I give thanks for all the faithful women I have met through this great community we call the blogosphere. 

There are so many wonderful women out there who are determined to follow and serve our Savior, Jesus Christ through their words, their service, their dress, their faith, and their example. 
You all make the world a better place, and you are beautiful examples to me. 
You strengthen my faith and determination to be a Proverbs 31 woman.

Blessings to you all,

Monday, June 11, 2012

Miracles Day By Day

"They had...many other miracles wrought by the power of God, day by day."
– Alma 37:40

Several years ago, during one deathly hot and sticky summer, my husband was asked to give the invocation in our worship service one Sunday at church. During my husband's prayer, he thanked Heavenly Father for the air conditioning that kept the building so comfortable. Amazingly, you could hear giggles all through the chapel, like he had just said something embarrassing!

The members of our congregation lived in a fairly well-to-do part of town, while my husband and I lived in one little "ghetto" apartment complex in the middle of all these affluent neighborhoods. So everyone at church was used to taking for granted finer comforts of life.

As my husband left the podium and headed back towards our seats, the bishop's counselor, who was conducting the meeting that day, stood and said, "I for one am extremely grateful for the air conditioning in this building." He then went on to explain that he had recently returned from a short deployment to Afghanistan. He was a surgeon, and his job required him to perform surgeries in an un-air-conditioned, unventilated tent, with stifling temperatures in the 100's, and insects buzzing around. It was one of the more unsanitary situations he had had to work in, and it made him more and more grateful for the small miracles in life we have become accustomed to.

What miracles does God bless you with day by day in your home? Central air-conditioning? Central heating? Electric appliances in your kitchen? Water running to different rooms? A home with walls that are not made of plywood? A floor not made of dirt? A kitchen filled with food?

What about your family? Are you one of those blessed women who has a husband to nurture and confide in? Are you blessed with the physical ability to give birth to children? Do you have a loving relationship with your parents?

I watched a news program once that interviewed a woman in Iraq. The reporter asked the woman, What are your biggest priorities in taking care of your family? She said the top three concerns were her children's education, getting enough nutritious food for them, and making sure they survive illness and disease.

OK, I have to say that NONE of these are majorly big concerns in my life. I live in an area with terrific public schools and educators for my children, and we have SO much food in the house and at the store I have to be careful to not get fat. And surviving?? Well, 99.999% of children I know survive. With incredibly sanitary living conditions and medical care available practically everywhere, survival isn't even an issue.

What marvelous miracles these are! God is SO generous to me and my family, that sometimes I don't even recognize the generosity anymore. And I should.

Take this moment today to recognize the miracles God sends to you, day by day by day.

With love,

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Come Unto Christ

"And thou didst hear me because of mine afflictions and my sincerity; 

and it is because of thy Son that thou hast been thus merciful unto me, therefore I will cry unto thee in all mine afflictions, 

for in thee is my joy
for thou hast turned thy judgments away from me, 

because of thy Son

Begin to believe in the Son of God
that he will come to redeem his people, 

and that he shall suffer and die to atone for their sins; 

and that he shall rise again from the dead
which shall bring to pass the resurrection, 

that all men shall stand before him
to be judged at the last and judgment day, according to their works.

And now, my brethren, I desire that ye shall 
plant this word in your hearts

and as it beginneth to swell even so 
nourish it by your faith

And behold, it will become a tree
springing up in you unto everlasting life

And then may God grant unto you that your burdens may be light, 
through the joy of his Son."

Friday, June 1, 2012

Right Where God Wants Me To Be

" I ought to be content with the things which the Lord hath allotted unto me...I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it...Yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God."

My mother had a full time job outside the home for my entire childhood. When I was young, her income provided half of our financial resources, and my father provided the other half with his job. When I was a teenager, my parents divorced. My mother's job became much more critical at that point, being the only means of income for our family. As I grew up, I always heard my mother lament that she could not stay home full time to raise her girls. This was her desire above all others, to be home with us, to teach us, to nurture us. Unfortunately, this was not what the Lord had allotted unto her, and she did her best to be content with it.

My sister and I grew up with these two lessons in our minds - first, seeing that women are very capable of having successful careers outside the home; and second, hearing that being a stay-at-home mother is more desirable than any other opportunity. When we married, we each chose husbands who were willing to work hard to support our families and let us stay home with our kids.

There have been lots of times that my sister and I have second-guessed our decision to be SAHMs. We have each tried different work-at-home businesses - selling kitchen paraphenalia, candles, scrapbooking supplies, etc. We have also each had part-time jobs once or twice, mainly to have a diversion. But every time, these business pursuits have not been successful, and we both have ended up where we started - home with our kids, cleaning the house, planning playdates and menus. 

Exactly where God wants us to be.

As I study how to become a Proverbs 31 woman, I am learning how to find the glory of God in the path He has chosen for me. It's so easy for Satan to whisper his negative ideas into my brain - I'm worth more than this, the kids are annoying, my husband just wants a housekeeper, etc etc. If I don't actively seek God's word and His spirit in my life, this negative tirade starts to eat away at my happiness. 

God has put me here in my home, with my kids, for a reason. Just as Esther had a purpose in the king's house she did not know at first, I have a purpose here in my home. I do not understand it all right now. Maybe I won't ever understand it all in this lifetime. But I will stop second-guessing His will. I will glory in the life He has given me, and in the blessings He continually pours out upon me and my family. God needs me to be an instrument in His hands, and it's time to stop fighting that fact. God has never steered me wrong before in my life, so I will continue to trust in Him and rejoice in His tender mercies. 

With love,