Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Christian Lessons of Halloween

     Do you have mixed feelings about Halloween?  Some of us do.  Mostly I resent that it seems to get more attention than other, more meaningful, holidays.  I don't like scary stuff and gore. I am not concerned about religious overtones that may have once been affiliated with the holiday.  Is it about children's (or worse, teen-agers') greed or about neighborly generosity?  I do like the sense of fun and dressing up (if you want to.  I don't like being required to).

      Here is an interesting take on Halloween from one Christian's point of view -

The Christian Lessons of Halloween
Three things we can learn from Halloween--by way of the Bible.

I’ve heard all the uptight brouhaha about Halloween. It’s a pagan holiday. It gives the devil more than his due. It lures innocents to the dark side. My response to all that hue and cry is, "Lighten up!" There are spiritual lessons—scriptural lessons—amid all the tricks and treats of this holiday.

Lesson One: Diversity Is Good--in Candy Sacks and Community

All kids have a rating scale for a neighborhood's trick-or-treating. Where could we make an efficient but abundant haul? Which neighbors gave the most candy? To my mind, the best ones were those who gave full-size Three Musketeers bars. My sister preferred Good 'n' Plenty. My friend loved Mounds. How anyone could prefer licorice or coconut to chocolate was beyond me, but it made for very satisfying swapping as we counted and sorted afterwards. In a small, snack-sized way, I learned that difference and diversity were important in creating a happy whole.

Herein lies the first lesson, my version of 1 Corinthians 12:17 ("If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell?"): If the whole body were a Three Musketeers Bar, where were the Good 'n' Plenty? And if the whole were Good 'n' Plenty, where were the Mounds? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. are they many members, yet one body.

Lesson Two: Overcoming Fear Pays Off

When I was little, I was normally scared of going up to doors of neighbors my parents knew but I didn’t. But Halloween gave me a legitimate reason--indeed, a candy mandate--to venture beyond my comfort zone. On that night, I overcame my shyness and talked to grown-ups. (Granted, the script was limited: "Trick or Treat!" followed by "Thank you!")

I arrived at some doors at the same time as other costumed kids I didn’t know. This was another source of anxiety. But I started to understand that we were all in this together, so it felt, ever so briefly, like a bond. I drew courage from those kids--and amazingly, some of the younger kids drew strength from me.

Straddling the boundaries of scary and safe helped me know that fear needn’t cripple me. There can be benefits from taking action even while afraid. In Halloween’s case, I developed confidence and got peeks at a greater sense of community and connection, training wheels toward love.

The second lesson is here: 2 Timothy 1: 7: "For God hath not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

Lesson Three: God Loves Us No Matter How Scary We Are

The best thing about Halloween is dressing up. I loved (still do) thinking up costumes. The store-bought options are an easy route today, but my favorites have always been the homemade ones or the really imaginative ones. How pleasant to have three 12-year-olds appear at my door, whack their chests, and have their shirts suddenly turn red with bloody gore. Never mind the cute little fairy princesses marching up the sidewalk just in front of of Hannibal Lechter.

Two neighbors went as a horse. One was the head and front legs and the other was the back legs and rump. Walking was awkward for them, but the costume was a real crowd pleaser. Chieko Okasaki, a leader of great wisdom and wit in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, pointed out a wonderful parallel about Halloween and grace. She noted that on this day we come in our most outrageous, often terrifying guises (even as the back end of a horse) and what do we receive? Not shaming and censure but a generous outpouring of bounty and goodness.

The welcome we receive on Halloween is a wonderful analogy for the unearned gift of grace we read about in Ephesians 2:8. We sinners approach God, and He looks beyond our nastiness and lavishes love and mercy on us. Don't let Halloween trick you. There are plenty of gospel treats to be had--Good 'n' Plenty of them, in fact!

Friday, November 22, 2013


This thought comes from an LDS Freedom forum post. Thought provoking.

Re: Even the very elect will be deceived....

Postby dauser » Mon Oct 07, 2013 11:36 pm
In the Premortal world a third of our siblings had a problem with forcing people to be good....and they were denied bodies...because they could not handle power and had to be limited.

In this Telestial world many of our siblings have a problem with unrighteous dominion and they are denied priesthood...because they cannot handle power and have to be limited. (D&C 121:37)

Most people cannot handle power...and therefore cannot be given godhood.

If they can legally and anonymously force their neighbors to do things... they will force their neighbors to do things.

They will use government to take advantage of their neighbors and gift themselves education, health care, lunch, money, insurance etc....because they can...and will not control themselves... with other people's property.

If they were made Gods they would immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion on their subjects, because they can...they will not control themselves therefore they cannot be trusted with power...and they must be restrained and limited.

God gives us government to test our we use government will determine if we are numbered with the just or the unjust.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Two Thoughtful Articles on LDS Singles

--  thanks to Sheryl Reeder and Moroni Leash for sharing these
I'm aging out of my Mormon singles ward and I feel like a failure
By Angela Trusty, For the Deseret News
Published: Tuesday, Nov. 12 2013 8:45 a.m. MST
Dear Angela,
In the next month I'll be leaving my singles ward for a family ward. I'm turning 31 and officially "aging out" of my current congregation. I'm writing because I really feel like a failure. I had more than a decade to get married and "graduate" properly from my singles ward and with only a few dates and lots of awkward social activities, it just didn't happen for me. I'm developing a really negative attitude about religion in general and I know that it stems from being single in a church full of married people but knowing that doesn't change my feelings. How can I keep going to church when I feel so bad about all of this relationship stuff and it seems to be exacerbated when I'm there?
Make sense?
Aged out guy
Dear Aged out guy,
I can really empathize with how you're feeling, I think a lot of people can.
We had a Sunday meeting a few weeks ago where a speaker said to our LDS Church singles congregation, "The only thing you need to be focusing on is marriage and getting married." Right after he said that my friend leaned over to me and half-jokingly said, "What about Jesus Christ?" We both kind of chuckled, but then I thought about that all day. How much of our single person focus should be directed towards getting married? And just like you've described above, what happens when and if that focus starts to make you feel bad?
I don't know the full answer but I can think of a few ingredients: perspective, patience, hope, testimony — to name a few. These are thoughts and studies that have helped me when I feel overwhelmed with feelings of not having something, whatever that something may be.
What I do know, however, is that you aren't a failure just because you haven’t gotten married within a short and specific time period. In fact, as Elder Jeffrey R. Holland pointed out, “The Prophet Joseph Smith once declared that all things ‘which pertain to our religion are only appendages’ to the Atonement of Jesus Christ.”
Focusing on the reality of a Savior and making Sunday worship about strengthening your relationship with him can begin to soothe whatever ails you. I would start there, I know this isn’t a perfect answer but I hope it helps.
Readers: What would you add to the discussion above? How have you made moving from a singles ward to a family ward a positive experience?
READER COMMENTS (at least the better ones! I did pull a few :)

From the words of a song, "Don't give up. You are loved." Finding love and marriage after 31+ does happen. In the meantime, continue to work on your relationship with the Lord. He is always there. In the words of another song, "He will not fail you."
7:30 a.m. Nov. 12, 2013
Like (3)


South Jordan, UT

Great advice from Angela: "Focusing on the reality of a Savior and making Sunday worship about strengthening your relationship with him can begin to soothe whatever ails you. I would start there, I know this isn’t a perfect answer but I hope it helps."
I'm not sure why I'm even posting since Angela provided the answer. Your current martial status is not the issue. Your relationship with Christ is the issue. I don't mean that to sound judgmental. What I'm trying to say is that you have followed the straight and narrow path and clung to the iron rod until you were able to partake of the tree. Now that you are there, NEVER LEAVE THE TREE. And the tree is Christ.
Joseph Smith taught that, in order to have faith sufficient for salvation, we must have faith in the justice of God (among other characteristics). Believing in the justice of God means we believe he will ultimately make all things right. It may take a lifetime or more but I believe that applies to each of us as individuals.
Be faithful and cast your burden on Him. That will give you peace.
9:22 a.m. Nov. 12, 2013
Like (4)

Elsmere, DE

I married at 31 myself. I fled a student singles ward masquerading as a YSA ward when I was 26. And in the next three years I lived in two other wards in that stake. I was membership clerk in both of them, so clearly I wasn't considered a "lesser member" there. But I heard plenty of biting comments along the way - some members even implied I was gay, or wasn't "doing my duty". The time between mission and marriage for me seemed like ten years in the proverbial wilderness.
9:28 a.m. Nov. 12, 2013
Like (2)



It IS difficult to feel at home and welcome in a church that seems full of smiling married folks... but you need to remember: Of the adult membership of the Church, a MAJORITY are single. Often few of them come to Church regularly, for obvious reasons. I encourage you to be actively involved in both your family ward where you live AND with the Single Adult groups in your area. If they are not well organized, YOU can become a 'spark plug' to shake things up and make them more fun and interesting. If YOU attend all available Single Adult activities, and you are not a control freak, as a single male you will help others to participate.
Every ward and branch have adult singles both visible and invisible. YOU are not the only one, and if you do your best you will obtain the best, both in your love life and otherwise.
9:35 a.m. Nov. 12, 2013
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San Diego, CA

The moment that I decided to stop looking for a partner, is when I found my husband, we married at the age of 33. I would look for activities for singles in your community with things you like to do, examples are hiking groups, biking groups, walking groups, reading groups, etc. I am not sure what you like to do, so you just have to google that. Leave it in Gods hands, He has a plan for you and sometimes His plans take longer than what we would like.
10:05 a.m. Nov. 12, 2013
Like (3)


Bountiful, UT

We have heard so very many times over the pulpit during General Conference that those who are single, who have not had the opportunity to marry in this life*, will not have the blessings of marriage and family withheld in the next life. *Now for the asterisk, living a Christ-centered life, making and KEEPING covenants, and striving to become your best self is required. Those of us who have married but are not living as we should, unless we repent, will not have the ultimate blessings of the Gospel for eternity. We are all in the same boat for our personal salvation although the size, shape, and speed of the boat is unique to our circumstances. But ALL of us can journey with the Lord if we choose to.
10:27 a.m. Nov. 12, 2013
Like (2)

Washington, DC

Coming from similar experiences, with what felt like hundreds of talks saying that the only thing I needed to focus on was getting married (really bad advice), I sympathize with "Aged out guy".
When I transitioned out of a singles ward, I was ready to be in a ward where my marital status wasn't the focus. I moved out of Utah, found a small family ward I felt was a good fit and have been happy ever since. Side note, quite a few marriages happened among singles in my ward.
Not everyone finds their true love in a singles ward. Many do, but the reality today is that a majority of LDS singles will "age out" of singles wards, and join family or single adult focused wards. It's happening more and more, and the church recognizes it.
From one single to another, try to cut yourself some slack. Remember, some things happen on the Lord's timeline. It doesn't mean you're a failure, just that it hasn't happened yet. Please try to get involved with your ward and stake activities single or not. Live your life, choose happiness, and you will attract someone like minded.
10:31 a.m. Nov. 12, 2013
Like (3)

Henderson, NV

"The Church is designed to nourish the imperfect, the struggling, and the exhausted. It is filled with people who desire with all their heart to keep the commandments, even if they haven't mastered them yet. Some might say, 'I know a member of your Church who is a hypocrite. I could never join a church that had someone like him as a member.' If you define hypocrite as someone who fails to live up perfectly to what he or she believes, then we are all hypocrites. None of us is quite as Christlike as we know we should be. But we earnestly desire to overcome our faults and the tendency to sin. With our heart and soul we yearn to become better with the help of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. If these are your desires, then regardless of your circumstances, your personal history, or the strength of your testimony, there is room for you in this Church. Come, join with us!" - President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
It is all about our Savior. I encourage you to move forward with these thoughts in mind. Much love to you, my brother.
10:40 a.m. Nov. 12, 2013
Like (3)



Just have a little faith. When I aged out of the YSA ward I went to the family ward and it was the best experience. I was called as RS President, I was always treated with the upmost respect and they loved me. My testimony was strengthened in the Savior and after the singles ward it was what I needed, a renewed focus on the Savior and an opportunity to forget myself. In the midst of this service (and not even looking) I met my husband-- in the family ward. When I left the singles ward I felt much of the same things but I knew that Heavenly Father had a plan for me and I needed to trust him..."aging out" was the best thing that ever happened to me.
10:45 a.m. Nov. 12, 2013
Like (4)
BYU Fan in DC

Washington, DC

From someone who aged out, I suggest attending a family ward where you are needed and getting involved in your calling as much as you can. Singles ward callings are often superficial and do not require that much work. However, family wards need more heavy-lifting especially with programs for youth, young children, new members, etc.
If you attend a family ward and get a meaningful calling like I did, you may still attend singles events. The best part, people will not know who you all that well, but may remember you from when you attended there ward. And when they learn that you go to a family ward and have some cool calling with primary, youth, etc... they will be interested. Personally, being mysterious to the opposite sex can often lead to the right girl or guy being interested.
11:04 a.m. Nov. 12, 2013
Like (2)

Provo, UT

As a 33-year-old single, I get it. I get the feeling of not fitting into a family ward, and the awkward pauses when you try to have a conversation about something other than raising children. While I can't speak for Aged Out Guy, I can speak for myself and some things I have learned from my own experience:
1. Understand that God has an individual plan for you, and this plan probably won't look like someone else's plan. It's okay if it doesn't look the same as others' plans. If you feel like you're doing what you can to further your own salvation, you're in the right place--even if it isn't what you or others see as the ideal situation.
2. Find a niche in your ward. I found my place in Primary to be a great blessing. Children are so loving and nonjudgmental.
3. Know that God loves you, and that His love is individual. If you seek God's guidance, He will lead you to where you can perform His work. Everything else will fall into place, regardless of marital status.
11:10 a.m. Nov. 12, 2013
Like (2)
Susan in VA

Alexandria, VA

When we first joined the Church my daughter was in her early 20s and she hated the singles ward for just that reason. Rather than leave the Church, which she truly believed in, she joined our family ward.... and she did marry. She hated that the central theme in the singles ward was "match making" and she wanted to concentrate on the Gospel. Aged out Guy may actually be happier in a family ward and find the love of his life because of it.
11:13 a.m. Nov. 12, 2013
Like (4)

Salt Lake City, UT

We love the singles in our ward. They make such a great contribution, and are absolutely vital to our ward family. I know that it's hard to be an older single (I was one, too), but the opportunities to serve and love are expanded in a non-YSA ward. Serving and loving bring us closer to God, and bring us happiness. BTW, most non-YSA wards are filled with beautiful, intelligent, and engaging single women. Ours is.
11:32 a.m. Nov. 12, 2013
Like (2) 
The Midsingles Phenomenon in the LDS Church
Cathy Geigle - July 17, 2012
Mormon midsingles - singles ages 31 to 45 - are a new and growing demographic in the Church, with a new and unique set of circumstances, challenges, and needs. They no longer fit in the traditional singles ward, but family wards can be difficult, too. What is a midsingle to do?
“The thing about the midsingles program,” says Bishop Steve Lang, “is that these people, our friends, our brothers and sisters, they go to church, they go on missions, they keep themselves worthy, unbelievably so. They do everything they are supposed to do, and they are in this crazy world with all this temptation around them. But once they hit 31, if they haven’t been able to find their mate, then [they’re asked to leave] their [singles] ward.”

And, he says, leaving their ward can often be a very painful process for singles, many of whom feel ostracized.
Adam Loughran is the bishop of the Huntington Beach 1st Ward, a magnet ward (a family ward for midsingles), and he says that from a cultural standpoint, the strong focus on families can make it difficult and uncomfortable for many midsingles who haven‘t been able to reach that goal, often driving them away.
The State of the Single Life
Matt Campbell is the regional representative for the Orange County singles/midsingles committee, which comprises 16 stakes in Orange County. Many single members, upon turning 31 and having to leave their young single adult ward, go inactive by the time they are 34, he says. “In each stake [in Orange County] there are on average 250–600 thirty-something midsingles, yet only a handful are active, often sitting alone in a family ward.”
Because midsingles make up those ages 31 to 45 who have never been married, in addition to those who are divorced and widowed, as much as Church leaders are anxious to help, there isn’t really a clear-cut answer. Typically, midsingles have three options following graduation from a YSA ward: a family ward, midsingles ward, or the latest buzz word, the magnet ward.
The Family Ward
For Farrah Walker of Los Angeles, she landed in a family ward because it happened to meet across the street from her place of employment. Unfortunately, she felt so uncomfortable, she didn’t want to return. “People would ask me why I was there. ‘Don’t you know there’s a singles ward?’ they would say. After a few weeks of this, I just couldn’t bring myself to go in anymore. I would drive to church and then just sit in the parking lot.”
But Walker didn’t give up, and the next time around things went better. “I love my family ward now,” she says. The difference? “People connect with me based on common interests and ideas, they treat me  like anyone else, rather than focusing on my marital status. It’s ‘I loved your comment in Relief Society,’ not, ‘Hey, why aren’t you in the singles ward?’’
The Midsingles Ward
Option number two for a graduating single is a midsingles ward, the same thing as a regular singles ward but for those aged 31–45. For Rod Rex of Salt Lake City, this was the logical choice when he turned 31. But after going to the three-hour block, he vowed never to return. “I was the baby. I had just turned 31 and I was surrounded by so many people who had been married before and were much older than I was. I just didn’t feel comfortable.”
For others, it’s not the age that’s the problem, but their children: they’re not allowed. For those who do have children, it’s difficult to make arrangements to attend one ward themselves while their children attend a regular family ward.
The Magnet Ward
A magnet ward is a family ward that all the midsingles in the stake congregate to, so they not only have the opportunity to be with other midsingles, but they are also integrated into the ward by having family ward callings, which helps keep a family perspective in a non-threatening way. The only difference in their Sunday schedule is a Sunday school class twice a month just for midsingles, so they can connect. Other than that, they are treated just like everyone else, and that’s the way they like it.
“There’s that sense of belonging and being needed and wanted,” says Loughran. “Every week I hear the same thing: ‘Bishop, if it wasn’t for this ward, I don’t know if I’d be an active member.’”
Now, eight years later, there are 18 magnet wards in the country and counting.
Because of their growing popularity, Campbell put together a website,, to explain how to create a magnet ward, discuss frequently asked questions, and list current Facebook groups and midsingles activities.
Connecting Beyond the Ward
In places where a magnet or midsingles ward may not be possible—or for those who want a little extra help—hope is not lost for midsingles who are looking for other ways to connect. With the onslaught of social media, midsingles have more ways to come together than ever before.
Currently, there are over 150 different Facebook groups dedicated to connecting midsingles in all regions of the country and world, such as Get Out! LDS Singles, which has over 2,200 members. Nearly every state in the United States has a midsingles Facebook page.
There are also conferences that allow midsingles from around the country to flock together in a more literal way. One of the most famous is the Huntington Beach Midsingles Conference.
The 2012 line-up of events for the weekend included beach volleyball, surfing, dancing, bowling, hot air balloon rides, and motivational speakers flown in to edify and uplift the crowd. It’s no wonder this six-year ritual is continuing strong and being replicated all over the country.
“I love all midsingles activities, but there’s something about the church-sponsored conferences that I really appreciate,” says Jeni Baird, the conference committee chair. “Everybody walks away with something. Whether it’s meeting someone new or a toolbox of tips and tricks to be a more attractive person or strengthening their testimony, everybody leaves feeling enhanced.”
And what did Larry Cluff of Salt Lake City plan to walk away with? “Phone numbers,” he laughs. “Lots of phone numbers.”
Finding Their Place Now
Despite the fact that the midsingle population of the Church is often regarded as high risk, those members have also been referred to as the strength of their wards. “The truth is, the leadership in our magnet ward was 85 to 90 percent midsingles,” Lang says. “Those were our best choices. They were the most experienced, mature, established, and respected. The Huntington Beach 1st Ward became the strongest ward in the stake because of the midsingles. They are huge asset to any ward they are in.”
“Midsingles just want to be viewed as contributing members,” Rex concludes. “Marriage is in the Lord’s time. Whatever age you are, stay positive and focus on what you need to do. Single or married, everyone has different challenges. We just need to put our focus forward.”

Sunday, November 10, 2013

verbal and nonverbal praise

Look for the good and reinforce it

Fist bump
High 5

say -
Good job coloring.
Good job listening.
Way to go.
I like how nicely you are sitting in your chair.
I like your smile.
You make me proud.
Thank you for helping.
Good job singing.
I like to see your eyes looking this way.
Good thinking.
I like that idea.

Tricks of the Trade - behavior management

techniques and tools that help you in your quest for behavior management
(also good in relationships)

  1. Tone it down.  Use a neutral tone as often as possible unless you are giving praise.
  2. Give time warnings.  If you are going to remove someone from something, or something from someone, that is reinforcing, give them a warning be fore you do (e.g. one more minute and then it is time to ...") and let them know when access to that reinforcer weill return (e.g. "ok it's time for .... You can ... again in three hours")
  3. Find the good and praise it.  Seek out approrpiate acts to reinforce.  Be creative. They are everywhere, an if someone is busy trying t do all these things that you keep reinforcing, the won't have much time to do the undesired things.
  4. Find the "yes" and lose the "no."  "No" is used too much.  If your typical response to a question of permission is "no," try skipping the "no" and just respond with what they do have permissi on for (e.g. the student asks, "Can I sit with my friend?" Instead of "no" say, "you can sit in this seat or that seat" or even better "today, you can sit in your assigned seat and on Friday you can sit with your friend.")  You can even take this a step further and validate their inguriy first before giving your "yes"  (e.g. your son asks for an ice cream at an inappropriate time.  Instead of "no" say "mmm ice cream does sound good.  It's almost dinner time now, so let's have some after dinner."
  5. Use "do" directtions instead of "don't".  Focus on the positive.  Instead of telling someone what NOT to do tell them what TO DO.  
  6. Tell instead of ask.  When giving an instruction, politely state what needs to be done, instead of asking.  Asking opens the expected responses to either a "yes" or "no"  If you expect "yes", then DO NOT ASK.  Try cutting out the "do you want to," or "will you/would you" altogether and start simply using "It's time for..."   Throw in a "please" for politeness.
  7. Offer choices. Sometimes you can offer choices to help motivate a behavior (e.g. it's time for your bath Do you want to use the blue soap or the green soap?)  Be creative.  Build behavioral motivation.
  8. Use shaping.  Reinforce the response that is close to the desired behavior.  Then reinforce the response that comes a little closer.  And so on until the desired behavior is achieved.
 People do things because it pays off in some way.  Consciously reward desired behavior. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Children in Church

 A little boy was in a relative's wedding.
 As he was coming down the aisle, he would take two steps,
 stop, and turn to the crowd.
 While facing the crowd, he would put his hands up like claws and roar.
 So it went, step, step, ROAR, step, step, ROAR, all the way down the aisle.
 As you can imagine, the crowd was near tears from laughing so hard
 by the time he reached the pulpit.
 When asked what he was doing, the child sniffed and said,
 "I was being the Ring Bear."

 One Sunday in a Midwest City ,
 a young child was "acting up" during the morning worship hour.
 The parents did their best to maintain some sense of order in the pew
 but were losing the battle.
 Finally, the father picked the little fellow up
 and walked sternly up the aisle on his way out.
 Just before reaching the safety of the foyer,
 the little one called loudly to the congregation,
 "Pray for me! Pray for me!"
 One particular four-year old prayed,
 "And forgive us our trash baskets
 as we forgive those who put trash in our baskets." 
 A little boy was overheard praying:
 "Lord, if you can't make me a better boy, don't worry about it.
 I'm having a real good time like I am." 

 A Sunday School teacher asked her little children, as they were on the way to church service,
 "And why is it necessary to be quiet in church?"
 One bright little girl replied, "Because people are sleeping."

 A little boy opened the big and old family Bible with fascination,
 looking at the old pages as he turned them.
 Then something fell out of the Bible.
 He picked it up and looked at it closely.
 It was an old leaf from a tree that has been pressed in between the pages.
 "Mama, look what I found," the boy called out..
 "What have you got there, dear?" his mother asked.
 With astonishment in the young boy's voice he answered,
 "It's Adam 's suit".

 The preacher was wired for sound with a lapel mike,
 and as he preached, he moved briskly about the platform,
 jerking the mike cord as he went.
 Then he moved to one side,
 getting wound up in the cord and nearly tripping before jerking it again.
 After several circles and jerks,
 a little girl in the third pew leaned toward her mother and whispered,
 "If he gets loose, will he hurt us?"

 Six-year old Angie , and her four-year old brother, Joe l , were sitting together in church.
 Joe l giggled, sang and talked out loud.
 Finally, his big sister had had enough.
 "You're not supposed to talk out loud in church."
 "Why? Who's going to stop me?" Joe l asked.
 Angie pointed to the back of the church and said,
 "See those two men standing by the door?
 They're hushers."

 My grandson was visiting one day when he asked ,
 "Grandma, do you know how you and God are alike?"
 I mentally polished my halo, while I asked,
 "No, how are we alike?"
 "You're both old," he replied.

 A ten-year old, under the tutelage of her grandmother,
 was becoming quite knowledgeable about the Bible.
 Then, one day, she floored her grandmother by asking,
 "Which Virgin was the mother of Jesus ? The virgin Mary or the 
 King James Virgin ?"

 A Sunday school class was studying the Ten Commandments.
 They were ready to discuss the last one.
 The teacher asked if anyone could tell her what it was.
 Susie raised her hand, stood tall, and quoted,
 "Thou shall not take the covers off the neighbor's wife."

-- Thank you Elaine L, for sharing these!!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Faith in Times of Trial

Sunday our Relief Society lesson was on Faith in Times of Trial and Adversity.  The bad news is that trials and adversity are a necessary part of our progression.  Andrew writes a little about it in his blog

Our instructor team, Sisters Arriaga and Beutler, handed out note cards with some of life's challenges and asked us to share words of encouragement, counsel and faith to sisters (brothers too) facing these challenges.  Here are the results:

Here is feedback given by us (Perkins Ward Sisters) collected from the topic cards that were distributed during our April 14th lesson.  This feedback is just to share some ideas that may be of some support as we walk through our experiences in this life. 

Diagnosis of a life-changing disease = “Sometimes it does seem that life just isn’t fair, from our perspective.  Our Heavenly Father does love you.  He knows your trials and he knows your pain.  Somehow it will be for your good.  I heard once – and I cling to it – that the day will come that all who have suffered will say everything is right and just.  All that is unfair in life will be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  In the meantime let your sisters (and brothers) support & help you.  You will lift them with your testimony.”

Pregnancy – difficult = “Hang in there.  You can do this!  To get through the hardest parts, just imagine this little person you carry and all the wonderful things you will get to watch him/her to through all the growing up milestones, all the smiles, steps, all the good you will be so blessed to share in.  Heavenly Father loves you & is so proud of your choice to be a mom.  All in all, the pregnancy will be just a blip on the timeline of your life.  Love the good, pray through the rough & count this child as a blessing.”

Parenting teenager(s) = “First of all, talk to them but really ask them questions so they share with you.  Have meals together – something they will count on.  Text them words of love.  Send a letter of them.  Get some direction from Him.  Remember they are learning.  Talk, listen, talk, listen, talk, listen.”

Underemployment = “Pray & faithful – study – fast.  Speak with Bishop & get recommend to go the LDS employment.  Update resume.  Learn how to network.  Learn to search internet for opportunities.  Update skills (i.e., Park & Rec classes – inexpensive and convenient).  Ask friends to help you find work.  Follow inspiration.”

Work environment – negative atmosphere = “Smile, Pray, Say something positive, have positive things around you, or a happy file/uplifting.”

Financial set-back = “Try to determine the cause – unemployment, illness, etc.  What can we do to alleviate the cause?  Job counseling.  Church employment services, education, etc.  Encourage the person to talk to the Bishop to get help.  Be willing to listen and not judge.  Pray with them.  Keep confidences if asked.”

Career change = “Trust God for a positive move – to help with the challenges of learning something new.”

Spouse relationships = “(Drawn triangle.  The vertices were labeled “Heavenly Father”, “Husband”, and “Wife” with Heavenly Father on the top vertex.  The closer each spouse gets/draws to Him, the closer they can be to each other.  Just working on the bottom line (two vertices “Husband” & “Wife”) is not enough for a strong eternal marriage.  Difficulties arise as a part of life.  When we choose to face them together as a couple, life, love & challenges all improve.  Even difficulties between spouses can be faced together.  If you are not able to work with your spouse, it is your responsibility to get there.  IT is MORE IMPORTANT TO BE MARRIED THAN IT IS TO BE RIGHT.  Feel it when you say, “I love you.”  LIFE IS NOT PERFET, BUT YOU CAN BE PERFECT FOR EACH OTHER & GROW TOGETHER.”

Child’s career difficulty = “I don’t have a child old enough for a career, so I will speak from personal experience . . . Listen – don’t criticize – don’t offer advice unless the child asks for it.  PRAY.  Pray that your child will be given strength and inspiration on how to overcome these challenges.  Go to the scriptures.  Give support where you can, whether it’s financial, physical, emotional or spiritual.”

Family history of addiction = “Encourage those to take advantage of ARP.  Perhaps set up a call with Jim Brazell-Born, so he can offer his success story.”

New Job  = “Be thankful to have skills to get a job.”

Needed home repairs ($/how to) = “1st think, you need to see what you wanted to do.  How much you want to pay out.  What colors & rooms – to do 1st.  Have fun doing it.  Get family & friends to come help.  Do things little 1st, then start looking what’s next.”

Your child’s struggle at school = “Take this problem to the Lord – and ask Him to have understanding from your child’s viewpoint, those involved at school with the struggle to understand their viewpoint, and to know how to help your child work through the struggle.  The Lord sees all sides of the struggle & can guide you so that the struggle will be resolved keeping confidence of your child, the relationships involved will be kept intact, and a positive outcome will occur. (smile)”

Building relationships after a move = “Bloom where you are planted!  The gospel is a universal binder.  Be friendly and expect the best.  Offer to be of service.  Attend R.S.  Meet people – put yourself out!”

Child’s marriage difficulty = “Remember: There will be problems in a marriage.  Everyone has a different view.  During your trials, try to remember that this will pass, whoever or child decided to marry.  We need to love their spouse as well.  And to continue to be the good person, you are meant to be.  Continue your relationship with your Heavenly Father. Hand your trouble on to Him.”