I seem to fall apart when it comes to my journal in October, at least I did this year. I think it was the different assignments, I didn't make journaling a priority. Rather than get frustrated with myself I'm just going to start anew and November is the perfect month. I always look forward to focusing on the many blessings I have in my life. I can even find blessings in my trials and weaknesses.
Ten years ago I hear President Eyring say,
"When our children were very small, I started to write down a few things about what happened every day. Let me tell you how that got started. I came home late from a Church assignment. It was after dark. My father-in-law, who lived near us, surprised me as I walked toward the front door of my house. He was carrying a load of pipes over his shoulder, walking very fast and dressed in his work clothes. I knew that he had been building a system to pump water from a stream below us up to our property.
He smiled, spoke softly, and then rushed past me into the darkness to go on with his work. I took a few steps toward the house, thinking of what he was doing for us, and just as I got to the door, I heard in my mind—not in my own voice—these words: “I’m not giving you these experiences for yourself. Write them down.”
I went inside. I didn’t go to bed. Although I was tired, I took out some paper and began to write. And as I did, I understood the message I had heard in my mind. I was supposed to record for my children to read, someday in the future, how I had seen the hand of God blessing our family. Grandpa didn’t have to do what he was doing for us. He could have had someone else do it or not have done it at all. But he was serving us, his family, in the way covenant disciples of Jesus Christ always do. I knew that was true. And so I wrote it down, so that my children could have the memory someday when they would need it.
I wrote down a few lines every day for years. I never missed a day no matter how tired I was or how early I would have to start the next day. Before I would write, I would ponder this question: “Have I seen the hand of God reaching out to touch us or our children or our family today?” As I kept at it, something began to happen. As I would cast my mind over the day, I would see evidence of what God had done for one of us that I had not recognized in the busy moments of the day. As that happened, and it happened often, I realized that trying to remember had allowed God to show me what He had done.
More than gratitude began to grow in my heart. Testimony grew. I became ever more certain that our Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers. I felt more gratitude for the softening and refining that come because of the Atonement of the Savior Jesus Christ. And I grew more confident that the Holy Ghost can bring all things to our remembrance—even things we did not notice or pay attention to when they happened." (Henry B. Eyring, "O Remember, Remember", General Conference, October 2007)
I have never forgotten his words and think of them often, usually when I forget to write. However, despite my inconstancy, I have seen great blessings as a result of consistently (in my inconsistent way) recording the blessings in my life. So today I made it a priority to print off the pages and add them to my journal. I date stamped each list and I am ready for the month.
If you would like to participate and use the gratitude pages here are the links.
Gratitude poster (idea, super simple. We are on our 7th year.)
TheSmallSeed has a wonderful Daily Gratitude Devotional Guide available for download as well. I'm looking forward to learning and seeing God's hand in my life this month.
What happens when every conversation you have is small talk?
What do you do when the only substance is the latest sporting match or movie viewed?
How do you have meaningful conversations in a world that speaks in text messages and tweets?
I recently had a conversation with someone I love who talked about how lonely they were. They talked about the different facets of their life, filled with people and communications, but nothing of substance or depth. They said that no matter what they did they seemed to be able to find fulfilling relationships. As we talked, I wept, my natural response to intense emotions which drive my guys crazy, but thankfully they were not present. I thought about the many ways I had failed this person and yet I was hopeful because we were having this conversation, but I didn't have a solution. I can be there, and I can listen, and I can do all that I can, but I am not enough.
So as not to cause alarm, this loved one will be fine. It was a candid, honest conversation one of many that we have had, but it made me wonder how many other people feel this way and about people in general and the relationships we have.
Do you have meaningful relationships, conversations with anyone?
Do you have someone you can turn to when you feel alone?
Is there a limit to how many close friendships a person can have? And does that limit a person’s influence?
As I sit and reflect on the relationships I have and those that mean the most to me, I will admit that I am very blessed that those people closest to me are my family who I know I can confide in whenever I need to. I also know that not everyone can do that, so I don't know how to solve this problem. I'm a problem solver. Life can be hard for a problem solver.
I am no expert but here a few things I've learned about meaningful conversations and sometimes put into practice. Like everyone else I am still learning and don't always practice what I preach, the children are good to remind me of this on a regular basis.
They require trust and love. They need two people who no matter what is discussed can be respectful and loving of differing opinions. No one is going to feel the same way in the same situation because we are all different we are all going to see things uniquely. Understanding this has been key.
Ask good questions. Now, this might seem silly, but often when I ask a broad question, "what did you do today?" I get a limited response, but if I can narrow down to something more specific and ask a why question there seems to be more dialogue. "Why do you think that happened this way?" or "Why do you feel_____?". The why gets to the feelings, and although feelings are hard to discuss, they all connect us to others.
Be honest. One of the biggest things I have learned is that we are all struggling with something. No one is immune, myself included, and if we are going for honesty, I'm a mess, but guess what? That is okay. I'm going to make mistakes every single day, multiple times a day. Sometimes I'm going to be a terrible mother, wife, daughter, sister, and friend. I forget things, deadlines, homework. I lose things. I'm not the fun parent. I cry easily. The list could go on and on. I'm not alone in this, but I'm also not a horrible person. Very people in the world are truly horrible. We are good people who are progressing and loving the best we can. Most of us are trying to show that we have it all together even when we don't. Being open about who we are helps others along the way. It's hard and scary because no one wants to be rejected, but I have found that being a little vulnerable makes a difference.
Listen. This one is tough, but meaningful conversations often are not only about you. You need to ask the question and listen. Sometimes people need a second to think about their response. Quiet moments in a conversation are okay. Resist the urge to speak, so hard for someone like me. Listening allows you to ask better follow up questions.
Just try. One thing I have tried to overcome is my fears. I don't want to fail, but unless you try, you will never know what can happen. In the end, you might be surprised. I know I have been.
1. I have always found that learning who you are helps this process. You might be surprised to know that I am an introvert. Shocking right? I was to me, but it explained so many of my reactions and relationships. Can I function in a large group setting? Yes, but it takes a great deal of effort. I have learned to how to make it work, but it requires a great deal of work and energy. Knowing this helps me in how I approach my relationships, conversations, and how I read body language.
2. My glasses are not helping anymore. All of a sudden things are not working how they are suppose to. The children say it's because I am getting old and my intelligence is crystalizing while my body is shutting down. I don't need enemies; children will do.
3. John comes home today, hooray. As just sent him an email telling him how much I love him. I can't write about post about meaningful conversations and not tell him. He brought me the flowers last weekend. He's very good to me.
4. My hair was filthy, and the gray is showing more and more. I still took the picture. I'm not glamorous. I'm not whatever I'm supposed to be. I'm me, with horrible pores and dishes that need attention in the kitchen.
I was recently asked to come up with a catchy title and description for a family history class I was asked to teach. "Something that will draw people in and want to come." was suggested as the conversation continued. I giggled thinking that no matter how I "rebrand" family history or try to entice people to want to come, there is often a long history of negative experiences or frustration associated with the word genealogy. I know for me genealogy or family history became trigger words that would cause me to roll my eyes at the speaker or shut down and think about something completely different. How could I possibly make time to add one more thing into my life with all my children and activities? Or to avoid the guilt, I excel at adding to my list of deficiencies; I would always think, 'I will do this when I am older. Family history is for old people."
Now several years into my family history journey there are things I wished I had understood.
1. IT'S ABOUT LOVE. Family history is about a love of family: those who came before us, those present today, and those who are yet to come. As I participate in family history no matter how big or small, I am binding generations through love. Because I love my children I teach them about their ancestors and search out their people, culture, and heritage.
2. A PLACE FOR EVERYONE. There is a place in family history for you, me, the young, the old, and the busy. EVERYONE. No matter who you are and what your interest is there is a place for you. Ask yourself, "What does family history look like or feel right now in my life? How can I broaden the definition of what I think family history is?" Find your part and become a gatherer of family. It will bless your life in unimaginable ways.
3. EXPERTISE NOT REQUIRED. I will probably never be a professional genealogist and there is no expectation of that from anyone. I will and have made countless mistakes. I am constantly asking friends and family members to get me out of some tight spots, I even made my own grandmother a second wife to herself in such an unusual way I had to call in some experts to fix my mistake. Everything can be fixed. I learned so much from this one mistake, the most important is that I am trying.
4. SMALL MOMENTS MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE. Technology today has changed the way family history is done. In a matter of minutes I can use my smartphone and find a story about an ancestor, I can use my FamilySearch Tree app to complete a recommended task or find photos and memories about my ancestors. I have found that using my waiting time in carpools or other appointments to research, record, or some other task makes a huge difference long term. Think about ways you can break up your larger family history goals into micro-tasks and get to work. Ten minutes can make a difference.
5. STORIES ARE ESSENTIAL. I am a storyteller. I have always been the record keeper and learning that is was part of family history was a key for me. My part will always be sharing the stories of our lives and those who came before us. In this process, I have learned the power of stories can change hearts, strength and offer courage, provide resiliency in times of trial. We learn that story has the power to strengthen the family in remarkable ways, providing healing and hope. Remember that your story is important. They are still being written, we are in the middle moments of our lives. We record for future generations so that they can find courage from our mistakes and triumphs.
6. NOT FORGOTTEN. Family history is about remembering. Remembering mothers, fathers, siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins, that lived. Who still live. These names on a computer screen or piece of paper are people. People with heartbreaks and triumphs. People whose spirits still feel love and sorrow. Now we won't be able to know the stories and lives of each person whose name we see. We might not be able to look at a picture and wonder if some of the same physical characteristics are mirrored in our reflection. Sometimes all that is left is a name. A tiny evidence that a life was lived. But we have the power to say, "You are not forgotten. You are valued. I do not know you, but your life and stories have impacted mine and I will not forget."
7. OPEN THE BOOKS. Often family history is simply using the resources you have on hand. For example, I have books sitting on my shelf about my ancestors, files on hard drives, and stories on FamilySearch. They don't help me or my children if I don't open them. Great sacrifice was made so that I could have them.
8. HEART BEFORE THE CHART. Think about how we learn or teach our small children. Do we hand them the scriptures and say, "Here, read and understand?" No, we start with simple stories about the people whose lives are written within the pages. Then when they are old enough to open the scriptures and search for themselves, they have a foundation of love. The same is true with family history. Handing someone a fan chart rarely inspires a connection, but knowing a person through their stories makes the genealogical part of family history more meaningful.
9. BE THE RECORD KEEPER. I wish I knew more about my ancestors, simple things and meaningful things. I wish I had more photos of their everyday lives. So many things I wish I had, sometimes even about my own childhood and growing up. Thankfully my parents are still living so I can ask those questions. I can preserve my stories and those of my children through photos and words leaving a rich story of who we were and what was most important to us. I want my grandchildren and great-grandchildren to know that we had struggles and we endured. We had joy and peace. We ate too much ice cream and loved to sing and laugh together. Most importantly I want them to know that I thought of them as I write my testimony of the Savior. I want them to know how much I love Him and will do all that I can to be faithful despite my mistakes and weaknesses.
10. CONNECTION GENERATIONS. Family history is about gathering, binding, and connecting generations. Future and past. There is no one way to do this within our families. We seek after our ancestors to learn from their stories and bind them to our family. We preserve our stories for future generations: creating bonds that bring great power. We are promised that in this process we can be healed and have protection for the adversary. We will find the power to learn and change. As our hearts turn to our fathers, we will find the power to strengthen our homes and families. What we once looked at as drudgery or sacrifice will become meaningful and sacred.
Christ binds us all back together in one great family as we take His name upon us. We are all related; you are my cousins and siblings and friends, and we are loved the most supernal and merciful Father and elder brother. This one fact fills my heart with such love that all doubt and fear vanish away. I am so thankful that someone wrote about His life and ministry. He is my all.
I love Instagram. I love being able to tell our stories in bite-size pieces and being able to scroll through the memories a few minutes here and there. But today as I was looking for something here, I remembered how much I love a rich narrative. I love reading the stories that require a little more detail and character development. Something that lingers with me long after the moment is over.
I don't know if I will ever be that kind of writer, but as I looked through our archives I remembered things I was certain I would never forget and did. I started making a list, a simple list with 10 favorite posts for the year. You can see it here: FAVORITE POSTS. It was hard to narrow down my favorites there were so many wonderful memories and I only made it through 2 years, but I will keep reading and adding. Someday I will format the favorite posts page so it looks pretty and interesting, but for now, it's a start.
It also helped me want to fill the pages here with what is most meaningful once again. I have neglected our stories. I haven't made it a priority and I want to change that. I have years of stories that are now memories and I feel overwhelmed by all that I need to do, but I can start today. I need to practice what I preach. So that I don't forget the simple moments, like this, of sharing a treat on the front porch as the sun was setting. The giggles and silly conversation they were having about school and their friends.
The photo isn't great and the moment was small but in that simple, nondescript minute relationships were strengthened and I thanked God that I was their mother.
All this also helped me remember we are creating our own family history, our family story is what will live on and I want to be one of the narrators so that I can express my love as often as I can.
If you need some further encouragement or inspiration The Small Seed is focusing on Family History this month and have created a lovely study guide (see this post) along with their posts (like this one, or this one, or this one) that I have found beneficial and inspiring. I need to remember to do a few more #52 stories: see this post. I haven't done as well at remembering as I should, but I'm not going to feel guilty. I will just write one today and enjoy the memory however simple and unimportant it might seem. My grandchildren or great-grandchildren will be happy with whatever I leave.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. Genesis 1:27-28
And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. Genesis 2:15
From the beginning God’s purpose is that His children become like Him with the first commandment He gives them being to be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, or in other words to create as He does. In connection with this commandment, God designs and charges His children to be stewards of His creations, including their own offspring.
The charge to be stewards comes in verse fifteen of Genesis chapter two cited above as the Lord puts the man in the Garden of Eden for two important purposes: to dress and to keep the garden. These first purposes are not temporary assignments in the Garden of Eden, unconnected to man’s role in the world and in the eternities but instead are fundamental to who God is and what man may become.
The Hebrew word for dress means to work and to serve, while the word for keep means to guard, protect, save, watch, treasure up, and celebrate. One way to understand the meaning of the word for keep is to think of the English word as a noun. Keep in English can refer to the innermost stronghold of a castle. This is the place where a keeper of the castle keeps that which is most precious, particularly his wife and children, safe and nourished with provisions that he also keeps there for that purpose. In this sense, the Garden of Eden is a keep just as heaven is a keep where God keeps, protects, saves, and nourishes His family, or as the holy of holies in the ancient tabernacle and temple is a keep as a representation of heaven.
(walking into a castle keep on our trip to the UK the summer of 2016)
This understanding of the word keep is meaningful from other perspectives as well. For instance, to me it gives greater weight to what it means to keep commandments, implying obedience with a deep recognition of the importance of the commandments and of honor for the giver of the commandments.
As an example of ancient connections between cultures and languages highlighting these universal principles, the Samaritans whose name comes from the Hebrew word for to keep consider themselves keepers of the ancient word of God and commandments as found in the Old Testament. As another example, samurai, using the same three letter root word--SMR and meaning servant in Japanese and potentially also coming out of this ancient understanding, are keepers of ancient traditions and the land of Japan.
In any event together these purposes of serving and keeping include much of what man should do and what God does. An applicable sermon about these two principles and their righteous application to lend understanding to the charge to dress and keep the Garden of Eden is found in Mosiah chapter two in which King Benjamin teaches about how God serves and keeps us, and how He expects us to do likewise in reciprocation to Him by keeping His commandments and in service to others:
And even I, myself, have labored with mine own hands that I might serve you, and that ye should not be laden with taxes, and that there should nothing come upon you which was grievous to be borne—and of all these things which I have spoken, ye yourselves are witnesses this day.
Yet, my brethren, I have not done these things that I might boast, neither do I tell these things that thereby I might accuse you; but I tell you these things that ye may know that I can answer a clear conscience before God this day.
Behold, I say unto you that because I said unto you that I had spent my days in your service, I do not desire to boast, for I have only been in the service of God.
And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.
Behold, ye have called me your king; and if I, whom ye call your king, do labor to serve you, then ought not ye to labor to serve one another?
And behold also, if I, whom ye call your king, who has spent his days in your service, and yet has been in the service of God, do merit any thanks from you, O how you ought to thank your heavenly King!
I say unto you, my brethren, that if you should render all the thanks and praise which your whole soul has power to possess, to that God who has created you, and has kept and preserved you, and has caused that ye should rejoice, and has granted that ye should live in peace one with another—
I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants.
And behold, all that he requires of you is to keep his commandments; and he has promised you that if ye would keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; and he never doth vary from that which he hath said; therefore, if ye do keep his commandments he doth bless and prosper you. Mosiah 2:14-22
The roles of creators in God’s plan are always those of father and mother, and the fifth commandment is a solemn charge to keep God’s plan, as children and society, in general, are commanded to honor fathers and mothers.
The account in Genesis chapter nine verses 20 through 27 is on its surface a difficult passage to understand, missing detail and leading to questions, but it is also full of rich symbolism and can be viewed symbolically in many ways including as a lesson in honoring father and mother:
And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard:
And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.
And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.
And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father’s nakedness.
And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.
And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.
And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
Again, one way of understanding this account is as a lesson in keeping the fifth commandment (at the time of Noah the fifth commandment is yet to be recorded in the currently held scriptures, but it is eternal in principle).
Despite what is recorded as weakness on the part of Noah, God requires his children to honor him. Noah is naked in his drunkenness, and the Hebrew word for naked comes from the same root as the word used to describe Adam and Eve as naked in the Garden of Eden, which can additionally involve poverty and vulnerability. The details regarding Ham’s actions towards his father Noah may be incomplete, but the inference is that he should exercise more honor towards his father. In contrast, Shem and Japheth walk backwards into their father’s tent (the symbolism of the tent leading back to the meaning of keep as a noun) so as not to see his nakedness and cover him, thereby honoring him, serving and keeping their father who is in a condition of vulnerability at that moment.
The Hebrew word used here for cover is often used metaphorically to cover sin or to pardon. Pictographically the root verb is a beautiful word that can represent this covering of sin and pardoning through the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. In pictograph, the word begins from right to left with an open palm, a thorn, and a man with outstretched arms: The open palm potentially[i] represents bending, opening, allowing, or taming; the thorn involves an interesting duality in that a thorn can inflict pain and be a symbol of hate and sin but can also be associated with shielding and protecting as shepherds traditionally often use thorn bushes to protect their sheep from harm; the thorn can also mean to hold or cling; and finally a man with outstretched arms traditionally potentially means the beholding of a great sight but also has obvious Christian meaning as a representation of Christ lifted up on the cross.
This Hebrew verb for to cover is also associated with plumping up and filling in hollow spaces as with earth covering a body in burial, and this meaning and the account of Noah and his sons in its entirety suggest a beautiful general companion role of children ideally plumping up and filling in hollow spaces in terms of forgiveness, compassion, care, and honor for their fathers and mothers with that of the creative roles of fathers and mothers with their children (one way of looking at creation in Hebrew pictographic language being to fatten or fill up with life). As children grow they perceive weakness in their parents, whether that weakness be real, merely perceived, or a mixture. It is the same love that parents have for children that children can and should reciprocate to their parents in forgiving them and treating them with compassion, kindness, respect, deference, and honor. This reciprocation in truly honoring father and mother strengthens the familial link, taking it from the one-sided creative relationship to a greater two sided binding of faithfulness and love made possible and increased by God’s grace as He blesses the associations of imperfect parents and children. Just as parents are charged to be stewards in serving and keeping their children, children through the commandment to honor father and mother may to their great advantage, especially as parents age, become stewards in serving and keeping their parents.
In this sense of reciprocation of the roles of steward in a spirit of love, the blessing of the fifth commandment—that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee—holds a spiritual meaning in the eternal nature of family relationships built on forgiving and being forgiven, serving and keeping, honor and love that will bring eternal, joyful association.
[i] I use the word potentially because attempts to definitively assign meaning to ancient pictographic language carry the danger of limiting all of the powerful meaning that can be derived from it. In the case of pictographic Hebrew meaning derived from individual symbols and combinations of symbols can expand in breadth and depth of interpretation and application as one reads and contemplates with the spirit. As an example, and again hopefully not to limit, (to cover) can potentially illustrate covering or pardoning sin, accepting salvation through Christ only, bending to His will, taking hold of and clinging to Christ, taking up a cross and following Christ, being grateful for and accepting all experiences in life as blessings... Furthermore, contemplating the three symbols themselves in sequence—the open palm, the thorn, and the man with arms outstretched—with the spirit can be much more powerful than translating the word into modern language. Coupling this reading and contemplation with further context in the pictographic language leads to more and more spiritual meaning. Becoming an expert in pictographic Hebrew or biblical Hebrew in a strictly academic sense is illusory, limiting, and truthfully impossible in that expertise in this world is tied to worldly nature and culture with its aspects of consensus, status, control and other limiting characteristics in opposition to revelation, whereas the true blessings that can be gained from language, particularly a language that is relatively closer to the pure Adamic tongue are those of revelation and the knowledge of God. In this way the spiritual study of truth through ancient language and symbols in general is similar to seeking truth through a urim and thummim, bringing one closer and closer to God through a cycle of revelation and faith. Eventually in this world as people truly and profoundly humble themselves, recognizing their own nothingness and God’s goodness, in preparation for the time when the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day (Isaiah 2:11) the language of man will cease to devolve and instead be elevated by God like the language of the ancient brother of Jared for whom the things which he wrote were mighty even as thou art, unto the overpowering of man to read them. (Ether 12:24)
I'm embarrassed this update has taken me so long to do. I'm even more embarrassed that I have not updated my children's folders in a very long time, but today is the day. Just in time for General Conference this weekend and possibly more updates to come. That is one thing I did not really think through when I first made the folders, who was going to keep updating the charts?
Did you get a chance to listen to the General Women's meeting last weekend? It was lovely with so many inspiring messages and thoughts and feelings.
Sister Eubank's talk (Turn On Your Light) quoting President Kimball has been something near and dear to my heart. I wrote a quick thing back in 2011 (see this post) and will look at again as I review her talk.
Sister Marriott's talk (Abiding in God and Repairing the Breach) about the Savior and love pierced my heart. I need to do better about this and I want to fully understand this scripture in Isaiah, “The Lord bindeth up the breach of his people, and healeth the stroke of their wound.” (Isaiah 30:26)
Learning that Sister Jones' son was buried the day before her talk made her words (Value Beyond Measure)so rich and meaningful. Not that they weren't on their own, but knowing about a person's life and their struggles always helps me relate and feel a connection.
Of course, I always love hearing President Uchtdorf speak and his talk (Three Sisters) was filled with wisdom and love. I can't wait to hear the words, teachings, and inspiration at will be shared this weekend.
Here are the latest updates:
If you are looking for more information on the folder format go here: "Conference is Awesome" folders.
If you are looking for more information on the big chart format go here: "Conference is Awesome" chart.
You can also get more ideas here at: Ideas to Prepare.
I'm going to to try something a little different this year, I think, which I will share in the next couple of days.
The past six months have been filled with so many emotions and experiences, too many to try and add to a simple post like this. However, I am honored to share with you a wonderful workshop that is available for the first time at the 2018 RootsTech conference (which I will talk about more soon and I get to give another free pass away again this year).
Thursday, March 1, 2018, Salt Palace Convention Center, 8:30 A.M.
Space is limited.
Also, this is a separate registration from the regular RootsTech Conference.
This has been such an amazing experience for me to be a part of and I can't wait to share more as I am able. I hope you will know how much fasting and prayer has gone into the process of preparing for this workshop and subsequent workbook, which I can't wait to talk about more in the next week. The Lord's hand has been in the process every step of the way and miracles have happened, along with some opposition. Lots and lots of opposition, but the Lord was merciful and the things I have learned will forever change my life. I hope to share some of those experiences with you. But for now, if you want to join us for this workshop go here:
On a side note, I just started this super simple journal from a Moleskine cashier notebook. I created the pocket using the ideas from this download: Sande's fabulous pockets (at the bottom of the post). I will share more of the album as I get closer to the end, but you can see some pages as I add them to @asimpleinspiration on Instagram.
I took a shower instead of getting my post written this morning and as I'm rushing out the door to physical therapy I wanted to make sure I posted before the day got too crazy.
I loved reading your responses and I can't wait to talk about them tomorrow, but for today here we go. My handsome guy volunteered to help and even though he isn't smiling he was excited to help me so that is fun.
I should probably do something more scientific, but he moved the papers around and around and couldn't see any of the names.
Congratulations to Rebekah, Emily and Charelynne. I send you your books soon!
When I took this photo I shared on Instagram, "As I stare at the screen today trying to listen to know where to go next, what to say and do, I think of my grandmothers and how much they would have loved what I was doing. I feel them close, lending strength. I am the sum of strong, courageous people who loved the Lord. Their sacrifice is not lost on me. I hope they will be proud of the woman I am becoming and the way in which I am trying to honor them."
I just finished a wrestle.
I’ve been working on a project that is bigger than me. It pushed my knowledge. It required sacrifice not only from me but my family (who have been so supportive). At times it has required great faith as things have gone wrong and opposition has been strong. But the thing that surprised me about this project was how much God wanted me to wrestle and in the process how much I learned and grew.
As I reflect on all that happened with this project, (which I am excited to share with you soon, I hope and why I haven't posted much here lately), I once again find that the Lord prepared me for what was to come. Over and over again I see a pattern in how the Lord teaches me, always here a little, there a little in ways I don't always anticipate.
One of those ways was this talk by Sheri Dew titled "Will You Engage in the Wrestle?"
I don't remember how I found it, I rarely listen to things when they first come out usually because I'm studying something else, but I know the Lord's hand brought it to me that day. As I look back over my notes what Sheri taught was not new, they were principles I already knew, but for some reason, I was prepared to understand and learn her message in a way that penetrated my heart.
Now if you are one of my children reading this, yes I used the word penetrate and I know how much you dislike that word, but none of the other words in the thesaurus seemed quite right. I did try, just for you.
As I started to read and record the thoughts and feeling of my heart in my scripture journal I found that I had too many many quotes from the talk I wanted to include and reference as I studied. So I printed it off and added it to my journal as I studied. I also ran out of room so post it notes and other small pieces of paper were added. I did not know that this would be the beginning of a beautiful journey for study time. (I did write a little bit about my process here: scripture journal: today)
I'm not sure why I have felt strongly to share this today, perhaps there is someone who will be inspired by the scripture journal process, which I give all credit to the Lord. Or perhaps there is someone who is ready to learn from words in Sheri's talk or it might all just be that I need to acknowledge God's hand in my learning process. Whatever the reason, I love the spiritual wrestle and this past year has given me plenty of opportunities to understand more acutely what Enos was referring to in Enos 1:2.
I have a new appreciation for wrestling since Rock started the sport this year. As I watch him and his teammates learn techniques, become stronger through conditioning, and overcome the mental obstacles in their matches I also learned that limits are pushed, endurance is taxed, and just when you can't give anything else you must dig deep into your reservoir and wrestle a little longer.
The same is true with spiritual wrestling. Sometimes God gives us the easy answer, right? Sometimes it is almost effortless, but often we must learn new principles, build endurance as we practice what we have learned, and then there is the anguish that often comes through trials or questions that are not yet answered. Our limits are reached and yet we still have to find a little more faith to wrestle a little longer.
Sheri said, "Champion wrestlers tell me that it isn't necessarily the strongest wrestler who wins. It is the wrestler who knows how to leverage his strength to overpower his opponent. Spiritual wrestling leverages the strength of true doctrine to overpower our weaknesses, our wavering faith, and our lack of knowledge. Spiritual wrestlers are seekers. They are men and women of faith who want to understand more than they presently do and who are serious about increasing the light and knowledge in their lives."
I have loved studying this talk. I love studying the words of wise people and their testimonies of our Savior, Jesus Christ. I feel like Sheri's words have become part of me as this is what my recent wrestle as done for me. It changed me physically and spiritually. My love for the Savior increased and my understanding of the gospel grew in ways that will bless lives. I am so profoundly thankful for the reminder of God's love for me, for all of us. How I love the gospel of Christ!
There is so much in life that I have no control over, so much heartache, loss, a pain that I wish I could ease. There are so many with questions and struggles that I can't solve, but perhaps I might help brighten someone with a small give away.
I loved Sheri's words and have shared her talk in book form with several of my friends. I would like to also share 3 copies with you. So if you would like to receive a copy of "Worth the Wrestle" please leave a comment below sharing one way you feel God's love for you.
The winners will be chosen and announced next week on Wednesday, September 6, 2017.
On a side note, I do not personally know Sheri and I should probably address her more formally by "Sister Dew", but after my study and wrestle this past year I feel like we are friends and I always call my friends by their first name.