Thursday, September 26, 2013

Ministering, Murmuring and Mormons.

Let me begin by saying that I HATE MEETINGS.
A lot.
Sometimes, I feel like they consume my life.
So, needless to say, I was less than excited about the meeting I had to attend earlier this week.
However, because I have been teaching Primary children about serving the Lord with a happy heart, I was determined to have a good attitude.
But...I was still silently murmuring inside.
So, when the Stake President got up to speak, I was kind of only half listening.
And then- he said something that I will never, ever forget.  Ever.

"We need to be ministers and not murmurers."

Ho. Ly.  Crap.
Loud and clear.
I read you.

And then I thought about it.
When has this been evident in my life?
For instance, I have had some primary kids in the past that were hard for me to handle.
And I served them...but I did it...begrudgingly.
And then, I had a moment during a General Conference (which I am so excited for, btw) where I realized that it was my job to show them that they were a child of God, that I needed to be (for lack of a better phrase...) A Window to His Love (thanks Julie De Azevedo).  And it changed.  They were better behaved, more apt to listen and understand and obey.  And all because I decided to stop murmuring and start ministering.
Or...there was a woman in one of my wards that I did NOT like.  I thought she was snobby and rude and a not very nice person.  And then, I learned some things about her life, and I felt compassion for her and empathy for her behavior.  And our relationship changed.  And I'm happy to say, she's still one of my favorite people to this day. seems to me that this ministering thing is the real ticket to bringing people together.  It brings love and acceptance and understanding and empathy and kindness.  I KNOW that it works with children.  I have a testimony of that.  It's tried and true with them.  All they want is to know that someone really loves them and will be there for them if they need someone.  All a child needs is structure and love.  So, it stands to reason that this would work with adults as well.  
If you think of the world's greatest minister- He loved us all.  He served us all.  He cared about each and every one of us.  He is there to guide us, teach us, support us and love us.  Jesus Christ doesn't care where you're from, how much money you have, how important you are to the world...because you are important to Him.  Regardless.
That's what ministering is. It's treating people as Christ would treat them.  It's loving and supporting and teaching.
That sounds a lot more pleasant than murmuring.
So, in my quest for eternal perfection, I am going to try harder to be a minister and not a murmurer.
I will be the Nephi or the Moroni or the Alma in my world.  I will not be the Laman or Lemuel of my world.  (If you don't understand that last can check in out in my all time favorite book...the Book of Mormon- just head over to and click on something.  anything.)
And I dare you.  I dare you to try it for one week and see what happens.  Try ministering instead of murmuring.  Try to build people up instead of tear them down.  Trust me.  It will change your life and maybe someone else's.  And really?  Isn't that what we're here for?  To love and learn from each other? And then return to our Heavenly Father?
I know that we are.
So, go.
Change the world.
After you watch this...

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Patriot Day

As I sit here in the quiet of the night, on the eve of Patriot Day...I have found myself thinking about why we have this day of remembrance in our country.
My grandma often talked about "the war".  She talked about how frightening sending her brothers and loved ones, including my grandpa, off to the armed forces.  She recalled the insecurity of the world, of our nation.
I felt that way about September 11th.
I will never, ever forget that day.
I was a 20 year old girl, in the midst of planning and preparing for my wedding day.  I woke up with a ring on my finger and the world at my fingertips.  Then...suddenly, that joy and excitement was replaced with fear.  My brother came and told me that I needed to look at the television...and I saw it.  I don't remember much else about what was being reported other than the facts.  I just remember sheer terror.  And anger.  So much anger and fear that it threatened to erupt at any minute. Until I stopped listening and started watching the people on the screen.  The firemen, the police, the volunteers....the families.  And in an instant, the anger was replaced by a deep sorrow, one that I can still feel every time I think about it.
And now, 12 years later, it still feels fresh and real.
Especially when I compare myself to those souls that were lost that day.
Right about now, they were going to bed.  Maybe they were happy.  Maybe stressed out, maybe looking forward to the next day or the weekend or an upcoming event.
Did they know?  Did they feel what was coming?  Did they feel a sense of impending tragedy?
Did they tell their family they loved them that night? Did they spend a few extra minutes with their children or their loved ones or their pets or their friends?  Did they have everything in order...just in case?
Or, did they do what we're all doing right now?  Waiting for some laundry, scratching the cat, washing dishes, surfing the internet, paying a bill, thinking about work, trying to decide what to wear, watching a movie and "glorifying the busy" of life?
Had they know it was their last evening at home with their loved ones...would they have changed their schedule or activities?
Would I?
Every year, on this day, I vow to be kind.  I vow to make my world better.  I vow to stop being so damn busy all the time.
So, its time for that again.
Do I really need to watch reality television or is there something better I can do with my time?
Can I put down my phone for an hour or two and really listen and talk with my husband?
Can I slow down for a minute and pay attention to those around me?
Can I stop rushing from place to place and instead meander through and stop to figuratively smell the roses?
Do I really need to yell at the person in the car in front of me?
Can I spend more time teaching and being an example of the word of God?
Can I be a better Christian today?
Did I kiss my husband goodnight?
Did I tell him I loved him?
Did I make sure he knew that through my actions as well as my words?
Did I tell my family that I loved them?  Do they know?
Have I mended relationships and offered forgiveness?
Can I be more kind and accepting and gentle?
You bet I can.  And today, I'm going to try a little bit harder.
I think it's still best summed up in the song written by Alan Jackson.
It's still relevant today.
Have a listen.
And I mean really listen.
And make a change.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Letters to Grandma

Dear Grandma, 
Today, I miss you.  I have so many things I want to tell you and show you.  Like how I've stopped biting my fingernails and my primary program and my cats and how big they are.  I want to tell you that I'm keeping my promises that I made.  I want you to know that I'm going to teach again.  I want to show you my Batman mask and buy you fudge and candied popcorn.  I want to show you my file folder games.  I want to give you a hug and paint your fingernails pink and fluff your hair and ... all the other things I can't do anymore.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm glad you're with Gramps and Aunt Susie and your brothers and your mom and your daddy, but I kinda miss you.  I wish you could just come back for one day.  Just one.  Is that so bad?  Probably.  

Anyways...I miss you.
Love, Angelface