Tuesday, June 18, 2013

To err is human; to forgive, divine

I was asked to speak in church this past Sunday, which was also Father's day.  When I asked what the topic was, I was told, "Well, you can say a few words about your dad, and then I would like you to speak on the General Conference talk by Elder Craig Cardon, 'The Savior Wants to Forgive', which he gave in April conference."  I had about two weeks to prepare.  I did a lot of thinking and pondering during that time.  I read the talk several times and I had a lot of ideas float through my head.  Some stayed and made it on paper, others did not seem as important to the content of my talk.  The one thing that prominently lingered and I ended up focusing my talk around was this:  The Savior wants to forgive--some of the most easily remembered Bible stories of things he did during his mortality are ones of him forgiving, healing, making whole.
With that central thought in mind, here is the general idea of my talk:
The title father is sacred and eternal.
Why Stay Morally Clean--Elder Boyd K Packer--council of the twelve
July 1972

"It should have great meaning that of all the titles of respect and honor and admiration that could be given him, God himself, he who is the highest of all, chose to be addressed simply as Father."
The Savior Wants to Forgive--Elder Craig A Cardon--of the seventy
Our Heavenly Father knows what we are facing, that we all sin and “come short of the glory of God” again and again. He sent His Son, who “knoweth the weakness of man and how to succor them who are tempted.” His Son teaches us to “pray always that [we] enter not into temptation.” We are told to “cry unto [God] for mercy; for he is mighty to save.” The Savior commands us to repent and to forgive. And although repentance is not easy, as we strive with all our hearts to obey His gospel, He gives this promise: “Verily I say unto you, notwithstanding [your] sins, my bowels are filled with compassion towards [you]. I will not utterly cast [you] off; and in the day of wrath I will remember mercy.” The Savior wants to forgive.
Not only does the Savior want to forgive, it seems the whole motivation of his mortality was to forgive.
In general conference just last October, President Monson counseled:
“We need to bear in mind that people can change. They can put behind them bad habits. They can repent from transgressions. …
“… We can help them to overcome their shortcomings. We must develop the capacity to see men not as they are at present but as they may become.”
Think for a moment of the stories of Jesus... the woman taken in adultery (neither do I condemn thee), one of the ten lepers (thy faith hath made thee whole), the man afflicted with a palsy lowered through a roof by his friends (thy sins are forgiven thee), the woman diseased with an issue of blood twelve years (thy faith hath made thee whole).  Jesus was constantly healing and forgiving, he displayed the capacity to see men "as they may become". Even at the close of his mortality he pled with the Father to forgive those who were crucifying him.
How did Christ carry out his motivation to forgive?  A major evidence was mercy.
          3 Nephi 17: 7    Have ye any that are sick among you? Bring them hither. Have ye any that are lame, or blind, or halt, or maimed, or leprous, or that are withered, or that are deaf, or that are afflicted in any manner? Bring them hither and I will heal them, for I have compassion upon you; my bowels are filled with mercy
            D&C 101: 9  Verily I say unto you, notwithstanding their sins, my bowels are filled with compassion towards them. I will not utterly cast them off; and in the day of wrath I will remember mercy.
            Alma 41: 14-15  Therefore, my son, see that you are merciful unto your brethren; deal justly, judge righteously, and do good continually; and if ye do all these things then shall ye receive your reward; yea, ye shall have mercy restored unto you again; ye shall have justice restored unto you again; ye shall have a righteous judgment restored unto you again; and ye shall have good rewarded unto you again.
             For that which ye do send out shall return unto you again, and be restored;
            Psalm 37: 21  The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth.
            Colossians 3: 12-15   12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;
             13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
             14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.
             15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful
The Savior wants to forgive.  He was very specific about his purpose for coming to this world as our Savior.
Moroni 8: 8  Listen to the words of Christ, your Redeemer, your Lord and your God. Behold, I came into the world not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance; the whole need no physician, but they that are sick;
As the ultimate healer, our Savior has told us (in D&C 64:10), "I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men."
This may seem difficult to us, yet while in mortality who did the Savior NOT forgive?  He showed us to do as he did -- forgive all.  And he showed us it is possible to forgive all men, even while we are mortal.
Elder Cardon includes the account of Peter asking how many times he should forgive
Providing an opportunity for the Savior to enlighten our understanding, Peter once inquired how many times he should forgive his brother and then asked, “Till seven times?” Surely that would be more than enough. But the Savior’s response opened wide the door to His merciful heart: “I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.”
The Lord loves us and wants us to understand His willingness to forgive. On more than 20 occasions in the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord told those to whom He was speaking, “Thy sins are forgiven thee,” or similar words. On about half of those occasions, the Lord’s words were directed specifically to the Prophet Joseph Smith, sometimes addressing him alone, sometimes with others. The first of these was recorded in 1830, the last in 1843. Thus, over a span of many years, the Lord told Joseph repeatedly, “Thy sins are forgiven thee.”
While Joseph was not “guilty of any great or malignant sins,” we do well to remember that with very few exceptions, the Lord’s “seventy times seven” does not limit forgiveness according to the seriousness of the sin.
While speaking to elders assembled in Kirtland, the Lord said, “I will that ye should overcome the world; wherefore I will have compassion upon you.” The Lord knows our weakness and the eternal consequences of “the world” upon imperfect men and women. The word wherefore in this verse is His affirmation that it is only by virtue of His compassion that we may ultimately “overcome the world.”
Christ showed us the key to our ability to consistently forgive is to
[become] as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father. (Mosiah 3: 19) 
The Savior wants to forgive.  Knowing this can help our submission to our Heavenly Father become easier as we remember the "inasmuch as you have forgiven one another your trespasses, even so I, the Lord, forgive you." (D&C 82:1)
The Savior wants to forgive.  We should want to forgive also.
For some time I have been pondering and thinking about what motivated the Savior while he was in mortality.  Having been asked what motivates me, and not being able to really give an answer of something that consistently motivates me in life, I decided that if I can't find what drives me to do stuff, then I need to find an example to follow and implement similar motivation in my own life.  Previously I had determined that the Savior seemed motivated at least by mercy.  After preparing for this talk I added the connected motivation of forgiveness.
If the Savior's actions were motivated by at least mercy and forgiveness, I can begin to see why he was considered worthy to and capable of completely enduring the atonement.  And why God the Father could say, "Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased... "

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Surprise Called Death

Today I learned that one of my friends is finishing his mortal journey and preparing to pass through the veil to those waiting on the other side for him.  Learning of his near-death situation is quite a surprise to me because I was blessed with an opportunity to see him within the last 12 months and he was healthy at the time.  Clearly I have not kept in frequent communication with him since that time, and it makes me a little sad to think of what these last few months with illness have been like for him.  Has he had better friends than myself to comfort him?  I certainly hope so.

This sudden news is making me think of life and death.  Death often helps me to focus on my own life and how I'm living and if I'm prepared for death at any moment.  But this time I am reflecting on my life and if I'm living so I have no regrets in how I treat others who pass before me.  You see, before I saw my friend several months ago I had been out of contact with him for a few years.  Suddenly, one day I thought of him and wondered if I could reestablish contact, so I looked him up on the internet.  Luckily I found just enough information to email him.  So I sent him an email and his response made me sad.  He was excited that I had found and contacted him, but mentioned that he was having a hard time socially, especially with females (he is not married but desires to be). Why the hard time?  Because too many people are too shallow and see just well enough to judge based on what they see.  What do they see with my friend?  Well, he is blind and they see blindness as a burden.  They may not actively treat him like a burden, but they see his visual impairment as such.

When I first met and became friends with Chad, he was full of life and full of excitement for life.  I enjoyed his vision of life, but even I was so focused on myself and where I wanted my life to go that I eventually lost contact with him when I moved away.  Knowing his excitement for life, I hoped he would find friends who would fill the needs for friendship that were left an open void as so many of his current friends moved on and I hoped he would be blessed to find his eternal companion.  After several years, I reestablished contact...only to find he had been afflicted with so many other "friends" who had been like me, focused so well on myself.  Fortunately I took an opportunity to visit him, to share a few moments of genuine friendship, and to hopefully bring some joy to his day.  Tonight I look back on that day and on my choices to reignite our friendship and I am grateful I did.  As I think on the time of his life in which I knew him, I do not have regrets about the kind of friend I tried to be, especially in trying to not see his blindness as a burden.  I don't think Chad saw his visual impairment as a burden because he lived independently for many years, he learned to play the guitar, he earned an associates degree and began further education in music therapy, he displayed unconditional love towards those around him, he helped maintain a business in making several products with raspberries, in short, he looked to the future and took confident steps to get himself to where he wanted to be.

I will be sad at Chad's passing to the next life and eternally grateful I knew him for the short time I was blessed to have him as a friend and to be his friend.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Dinosaur Train Wreck

This post is a picture parade of my attempt to make cake pops (instead of a larger birthday cake) for  my son's birthday.  He loves the show "Dinosaur Train" and I think cake pops are very tasty so I decided to combine the two if I could.  I found a few blogs with ideas of how to make them look good, so I got the supplies and made the cake pops.  I told my husband I wanted to post these on my blog, to share my attempts at being a creative mom and he said I should make sure to label it a dinosaur trainwreck.  Some of them may not look so great, but they all tasted delicious!!

These are the tools and decorations I started with...minus the cake mix and frosting.


 The cake pops are to be refrigerated for a few hours after they are formed to help them keep a firm shape while they are dipped in the chocolate coating.  I guess I made them too big because the first few I dipped began to break away from the stick.  The cake ball literally began breaking and it didn't dip as nicely or completely as I thought they would.  As you can see in the photo below, I tried one suggestion I read to dip the stick in the melted chocolate, then stick it in the cake ball and let it cool to help hold the stick in place and to discourage the ball from sliding down or off the stick.  Instead of the stick staying nicely in place, once I dipped the cake balls they got so heavy that the stick and chunk of orange chocolate just broke the ball apart. 

As you can see, I also had to make sure they tasted okay (notice the broken ball with some missing) since they weren't beginning to look all that great.

After only a few failed attempts I decided I needed to do something different before they all were ruined beyond repair.  So I removed all the sticks, held them on a fork and poured/spooned melted orange chocolate over them.  Luckily with this method I only had a few fall off the fork into the melted chocolate, but once I scooped them back out they still had the chocolate coating.

After I set them on the waxed paper to cool, I quickly added the diamond and eye decorations so they would at least be stuck to the chocolate and not just later fall off the hardened orange chocolate surface.

Finished dipping and adding little decorations

I added the black gel and Voila! Don't they look great?

A closeup of one of the better looking ones

Buddy with one that somehow lost an eye

I think this one got a tongue...it was one of the first failed attempts so I wanted to give it a little humor

One of the weirder-looking dinosaurs, but still delicious to eat!

I did make one cupcake so the birthday boy could have a little cake to stick the candles in to blow out.  I included the Buddy character so you could see what it's supposed to resemble.

And here is Buddy with a cake pop with teeth...

And one with a smile...

In the end, my son was completely happy with all of them and he recognized them as the much desired Buddy cakes for his birthday.

My husband may have thought it was a train wreck for not working out as originally planned and because they turned out a little rough around the edges, but I thought instead of a wreck it was more of a detour...I mean just look at that smile! He loved them and only wanted more.

Monday, July 9, 2012

A Rare Moment: an actual entry from my personal journal

Today I am posting twice because my last post about my talents was mostly typed and pictures uploaded a few weeks ago, then I got busy and didn't actually finish the post until today.  The second post is something I want to publish for people to see/read if they so desire and today happens to be the day I'm putting it up.  So, in putting up the second post I figured I had better finish the first post before I complete the second post.

And, moving on...

Today is a rare moment for anyone who reads this because this will be an actual full-length entry from my personal journal...the journal that is the most open avenue of my mind.  I hope as you read it you will see why I want to post this publicly.  If you view yourself as one of the politically-vocal persons I make reference to, please realize this is just my view and voice about politics because I do far more listening to others' voices than I do of sharing my own.

July 03, 2012
I was reading scriptures yesterday morning and found myself easily identifying with what was happening on a broad scale.  This is a presidential election year for the United States of America.  There is much what I will call wickedness both among the American people and within the ranks of government.  This nation has been blessed and prospered by God for a few hundred years, but we now are ripening for turmoil and destruction.  We seem to be very much like the Nephite nation as talked about in Helaman chapter 5
          (2) For as their laws and their governments were established by the voice of the people, and they who chose evil were more numerous than they who chose good, therefore they were ripening for destruction, for the laws had become corrupted.
          (3) Yea, and this was not all; they were a stiffnecked people, insomuch that they could not be governed by the law nor justice, save it were to their destruction.
Because of all the corruption that has been developing and happening of the last probably 50 or more years, it seems now to be a constant cycle of corruption and deception, no matter who is elected in to the office of President of the United States.  So, especially during the last several presidential elections, which happen every four years, it seems like the options are more or less bad and worse.  During the year or so leading up to the election, politically-minded people really become vocal as to who will be the best candidate and why (and how) they will be the current savior for the worst of our nation's woes.
Interestingly, in Helaman chapter 5, Nephi "had become weary because of their iniquity" so he gave up his position in the judgment-seat, which seems to be a governmental position similar to U.S. president, and "took it upon him to preach the word of God all the remainder of his days..." [Note: upon further review of verses one to four, it is quite possible that Nephi was voted out and chose to preach the gospel then.  Either way, it seems he and his brother Lehi decided to pursue preaching for they had remembered the words of their father Helaman, which included the following:]
The words of his father which he remembered, found cause to be written down in conjunction with the political turmoil, and possibly went about preaching, included a reminder "that there is no other way nor means whereby man can be saved, only through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ" (vs. 9), that repentance of our sins is the purpose of Christ's atoning blood (vs. 10-11), and that (vs. 12) "it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall."
          Please notice Helaman does not say it is upon the platform of our redeemer, who is the current candidate, that ye must place your trust and hope; that when the devil shall use the winds of politics, yea his shafts in the whirlwind of current thoughts of how things should be run and done, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm of uncertainty in current worldly leadership shall beat upon you when they don't fulfill the promises of redemption which helped get them into office, this shall have power to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of your trust in the arm of flesh (2 Nephi 4:34).
          Believe me, it is a gulf of misery and endless wo to hear politicians' promises and politically-vocal citizens' opinions.  I am already less miserable and less wo-weary to hear Helaman's counsel as to who my foundation of faith should be built upon.  In the grand view of politics and this world, I was not here when it began, and I doubt I will be here when the full transition to God's government takes place.  So during my time here, it may be best to follow the example of Nephi and Lehi as told in Helaman 5:14
"And they did remember his words; and therefore they went forth, keeping the commandments of God, to teach the word of God among all the people..."

Talents Buried

I have talents that sometimes want to shine at the most random times.  Okay, so this one probably wasn't all that random as you will see in the following story.

My child was born nearly four years ago.  One of my sisters welcomed a baby into her family in March.  Between my child growing into a toddler and her child being born I have discovered something I wish I had been creative enough to think of on my own and that I would probably like to have for future infants.  Of course, it is an item that can be ordered and paid for at potentially a much higher price than someone with basic sewing skills (like myself) can make on their own.  So, wanting to see if I could actually make one, I found an online pattern, purchased the materials I did not already have, and set to work making the item.  I made a reversible carseat canopy, but did not think to take pictures of it on the carseat, so here is the finished product in flat:

Animal Print side

Plain side

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Welcome January 2012!  It's clearly been a few months since I last posted and as I perused my previous posts to maybe get an idea of what to write today, I realized it's been almost one year since I began this blog.  So much has changed since then.

One of the most desirable changes is that, as a family, we are done with school for a while and Brett finally (just within the last few weeks) was offered a professional job--it's temporary, but it's a good start toward something better.  Another change is that we have been blessed during the holidays to spend time with family we haven't had opportunity to spend time with outside of phone and internet for a few years.  Other than these few changes, right now I'm thinking that there are more changes yet to come that I look forward to.

As Brett has been saying lately, 2012 is going to be a good year for us!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Move it!

So I missed posting in July because I was very busy with preparations for and the aftermath of moving.  Now we are more settled for at least a month or so until my husband can find work.

Moving and I have a love/hate relationship.  Moving loves me because it kicks me out of my current comfort zone and causes me to evaluate if I am going in life where I want to be.  I am slowly beginning to stop hating moving because I hate saying farewell to local friends with the promise that we'll be back to visit--It's nearly impossible to coordinate a visit that lets us see ALL the friends we've made and for a long enough time to enjoy it.  I'm beginning to stop hating only because of social networking sites that let us all stay in touch a little easier.

I certainly am thankful that snail mail is not the only way to communicate visually long distances these days and that technology makes easier sharing parts of our lives with our friends around the world.