Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A talk on the Spirit.

Well, I thought it was basic knowledge, and stuff we all learned in primary, but after encounters in these past few days, I guess some people don't quite understand. So! I am posting my talk I gave 2 Sundays ago about defending the Lord in the last days! It is pretty long, but what i believe to be quite truthful none the the less. So...ENJOY!!!

"I feel that this topic of putting on the armor of God in the last days is one of the most important, and urgent things we must be thinking about. As I was preparing for this talk, I found it hard to get past the fact that I felt like my nerves would get in the way of delivering what the Lord wants me to say, which actually was my inspiration for this talk. In high school I found it so easy perform in front of crowds. I sang my heart out in high school productions in front of hundreds of people, and never once got nervous. I think it is horribly ironic that I get so nervous to talk in front of my good friends about the Lord’s Gospel, when it is so much more important than a silly high school musical. And if I let a frivolous thing like my comfort level get in the way of sharing the Gospel with friends, how will I be able to survive in doing the same thing for the rest of the world. Which is why it is important in these last days to put on the full armor of God, and prepare ourselves to stand against the wickedness running rampant in today’s world, and prepare to serve our Lord. We mustn’t be afraid, but rather excited and engaged in this cause to fight for God, especially in these last days when evil is so prevalent and accepted.

Just like a real soldier going to battle, we also need to put on our armor to protect and defend ourselves. Our main weapon we have is the spirit. Without out it, we are as good as defeated. It is most essential to understand what God wants us to be fighting for. Simply listening to the prophets and reading our scriptures is not enough to defend truth in this world. We need to gain testimonies of our own, and have confirmation that it is the truth.

Growing up in Utah, out of the 2,000 kids that went to my high school, 99% of them were members of the church. While some would think this is a blessing, and makes living the gospel that much easier, it would actually surprise you how much we were tried and tested when it came to following the gospel and having the spirit with us. For some, living the gospel became more of a routine, only keeping their set standards because everyone else was watching. IT was more of a lifestyle than a religion, and appearances were more important than serving God. This became more evident after we all went our separate ways, and my friends were slowly being engulfed in the ways of the world. They weren’t firm in their beliefs, and had not practice turning to the spirit.

In 2 Nephi 32:3, it says, “Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost. Wherefore they speak the words of Christ, Wherefore I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ, for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all the things what ye should do.”

We need to constantly turn to the Lord for understanding and knowledge. It is so easy to be distracted or tricked by the devil. I was talking to my mom the other day while I was preparing my talk, and asked her if she knew of any good talks about listening to the spirit. She referred me to an article in the August 1978 Ensign. Young members put together a list of key indicators of when you have the spirit. They said…

When you have the Spirit:

1. You feel happy, calm, and clear-minded.

2. You feel generous.
3. Nobody can offend you.
4. You wouldn’t mind everybody seeing what you’re doing.
5. You are eager to be with people and want to make them happy.
6. You are glad when others succeed.
7. You are glad to attend your meetings and participate in church activities.
8. You feel like praying.
9. You wish you could keep all the Lord’s commandments.
10. You feel in control—you don’t overeat or sleep too much; you don’t feel uncontrollably drawn to sensational entertainment, lose your temper, or feel uncontrollable passions or desires. 11. You think about the Savior often and lovingly; you want to know him better.
12. You feel confident and are glad to be alive.

When you don’t have the Spirit:

1. You feel unhappy, depressed, confused, and frustrated.
2. You feel possessive, self-centered, or resentful of demands made on you.
3. You are easily offended.
4. You become secretive and evasive.
5. You avoid people, especially members of your family; and you are critical of family members and Church authorities.
6. You envy or resent the successes of others.
7. You don’t want to go to church, go home teaching, or take the sacrament. You wish you had another church job or no job at all.
8. You don’t want to pray.
9. You find the commandments bothersome, restricting, or senseless.
10. You feel emotions and appetites so strongly that you fear you cannot control them—hate, jealousy, anger, lust, hunger, fatigue.
11. You hardly ever think of the Savior; he seems irrelevant to your life, or worse, part of a confusing system that seems to work against you.
12. You get discouraged easily and wonder if life is really worth it.

It finishes by saying:

The mere fact that young people easily put this list together is a powerful reassurance that they do have the key to discernment. As Moroni put it: “The Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge that it is of God. “

Many times throughout my day, I feel that I am guilty of losing the spirit for simple reasons. I work a lot with computers as a graphic designer, and nothing makes me lose the spirit easier that something going wrong with technology. I drives me crazy knowing that these machines that men have created for us are so easily broken and corrupted. A few weeks ago, I was trying to hook up our new digital converter box and antennae in order to get a few channels on our TV. How easily the spirit left me after a few minutes of fiddling with the thing unsuccessfully. I boiled with rage as the little box flashing across the screen told me I was receiving “no signal.” In my frustration I was short tempered with my husband, I had a horrible attitude, and wanted nothing but to be miserable in my defeat. Then Jeff pointed out that these are such small and insignificant things, and we can’t let them get in the way of our progress. I then felt it ironic that the tv was flashing the words “no signal” to me, as if telling me I had lost the connection between my heavenly father and me. How can we serve the Lord when I allow the smallest things to get in the way? Which is why we need all the help from the Lord that we can get.

Having knowledge of the Gospel is a great responsibility. We have made covenants with the Lord that we will stand up for him. In this world, that can be hard, as we have nearly everything contradicting our beliefs, and mocks us for standing up for the truth. I find this is where most of my good friends from high school grew weak. The Devil had cleverly slipped in their thoughts justifications for sinful behaviors and thoughts. Many people like to use the excuse that we are not supposed to judge others, and Jesus would love everyone no matter what they do, and we should accept people’s choices.

It is true that we should love everyone as Christ does, but I think part of that love is not enabling or endorsing sinful behavior. While Christ was the greatest example of love, his messages were always of repentance and changing our hearts. If we truly love our fellow Children of God as he does, we will bring them a message of God’s love and of the Gospel, that they may also become followers in Christ. We must make righteous judgments, and discern right from wrong with the spirit, and make no exceptions. We can’t worry about offending someone or being embarrassed by standing up for our beliefs, because I feel like God would not be satisfied with that answer when we try to explain why we didn’t stand up for him.

With God, there is a right and a wrong, a black and white, and we need the spirit to confirm those things which are true to us. In these last days, there is no place to allow and justify wrong ideals and behaviors that are so accepted by the world today. So often, everyone says we are entitled to their own opinion, which is true, but that doesn’t mean every opinion is right.

C.S. Lewis said “There are a dozen views about everything until you know the answer. Then there’s never more than one.”

As members of this church, and followers of the Gospel, we know the answers, or if we don’t yet, we have a sound source to turn to. It is our responsibility to make sure we have constant contact with the Lord through the spirit, so we can be ready at a moment’s notice to fight.

Yet, while constantly having the spirit with us would be ideal, we do make mistakes as we are human, which is why we are able to turn to the Lord and repent. We were given this opportunity to come to earth and serve the Lord, and he gave us a way to fix our mistakes that were inevitable. The Lord knows we are not perfect, and I am sure nothing pleases him more than when we recognize the mistakes we make, and reconcile with him so we can better serve him.

M. Russel Ballard said in a CES Fireside “Are you struggling with some sin or weakness? It can be something as simple as not having the willpower to rise in the morning early enough to have time for scripture study and prayer. It can be something so powerful, such as Internet pornography or lack of moral self-control, that you feel you have been pulled down into an abyss and there is no hope for you. Do you find yourself hating what you are doing but not able to find the willpower to turn away from it? Then reach out and humble yourself. The Lord’s enabling power is sufficient to change your heart, to turn your life, to purge your soul. But you must make the first move, which is to humble yourself and realize that only in God can you find deliverance.”

In order to fight against the world, we must first make sure we ourselves are striving to do the best we can, and repent when we make mistakes. It is never too late to repent, it is simply up to us to recognize when we need to do so. Now more than ever we need to constantly turn our hearts to the Lord, and tell him we are on his side and do what it takes to serve him.

As it says in Josha 24: 15, “
And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

We must have our loins girt about with truth, have on the breastplate of righteousness, we must have our feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, take the shield of faith, wear the helment of salvation, and fight with the sword of the Spirit. In the BOM, we see many examples of men going to battle, giving their life for the Gospel, making the ultimate sacrifice in order to preserve their right to worship the Lord. Today we are still fighting that battle, perhaps not as physically, but we must be just as diligent and proactive in defending the truth."

Monday, February 23, 2009

Since lots of people are moving...

...we decided we should too. Across the street. You may think this is crazy, but we have very good reasons:

1. Our landlord is raising our rent FAR about what it should be. Seriously, this place shouldn't even be what we are paying, but it was a pretty good deal. Now it is being raised a considerable amount, and we figure if we are going to pay that much, we may as well move to a bigger apartment that costs the same!

2. It is a bigger apartment. Meaning there is more than a 2 foot by 2 foot square of counter space in the kitchen, and ample cupboard space, room for a kitchen table, well, I will just say the kitchen is about 3 times the size of ours, and actually fits a large table in it.

3. The Living room is pretty much the size of our current apartment. It can fit many pieces of furniture, or rather, more than a couch and a tv! Yay!

4. The bedroom is slightly larger as well, which is very welcome. Also, the walls at our new place aren't dripping with condensation at all times.

5. The best part is, in this new place, it is big enough to entertain!!! We can FINALLY have parties at our place, because there is ample space for people to spread out (the kitchen and living room are separated by a hallway, which I always love because then two conversations can be held with out having to yell over each other, and you don't have to clean the kitchen when someone comes to visit! :)

We have loved our humble apartment, it is true, all of its quirks and things that make it so unique and special, but I think we have out grown this little treasure, and need to move on to bigger and better things (not to mention we will get a storage shed and covered parking! And a in house laundramat. And to think, we will be paying the same amount we would be paying at our current place! We are quite excited for the move, and it should be quite easy to do, as it is less than 25 yards away from our current residence. We aren't moving until the end of April, so we have plenty of time to de-junk our apartment, but we are excited to have Dave and Natalie Stadleman and Joel and Elise as neighbors (though they both are leaving during the summer times, which we will be very sad about.)

Friday, February 20, 2009

A funny Jeff.

So last night, since Jeff usually falls asleep right away, I was up on my computer. Much later after Jeff was asleep, I finally decided it was high time to go to sleep myself. From the shuffling of putting my computer away, I accidentally jostled him. In his half-asleep state, he very boldly said with a full on spanish accent, "Feliz Navidad." Of course, I couldn't help but laugh, and asked him if he was awake, he said "Kinda..." and I said "Well, why did you say feliz navidad?" He explains, "Because it is your birthday..." "What?" I said. "It is your birthday!"

And he is out again, fast asleep. Silly Jeff. I guess Jeff didn't quite realize that it wasn't Christmas. And we weren't in Mexico. And that it wasn't my birthday. And that you don't say Feliz Navidad on my birthday, since it is in May. Ha ha. I had a good laugh for a long while. Hooray for Jeff.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A New Membership!

We couldn't just leave it at a Costco membership! We had to go out and seal the deal with a 3 year membership to Gold's Gym.

Now, I have been a member for more than 2 years, and when I was able to go, I truly enjoyed it quite a lot! Before I started my job, I would go to the gym every single morning for about 2 hours, which was lovely, but when I started my job (ironically which gave us the means in which to pay for our membership) I felt like I was torn between going to the gym and spending the few precious hours I had in the day with dear Jeffrey. Well, I wasn't torn. I wasn't going to leave Jeff at all.

So obviously the solution was to go get a membership for BOTH of us! And not to mention that we landed a pretty darn good deal. It is about $5 more a month for the both of us onto what I was paying before! And we certainly did a good job talking our nice salesman into a good deal. Usually when you pay up front, it takes off a good chunk of money... which we did, but in 4 seperate payments! Plus, Jeff is nearing the end of his physical therapy, and he needs to get those muscles back into shape after the accident! And I need to work off a few that I have gained since marriage. And the final reason that convinced me this was the right thing to do... the HDTVs atatched to every machine with over 70 channels. So, basically instead of getting cable TV, we are getting in shape AND watching our shows that we always miss. How could we possibly lose? Anyway, hooray for getting in shape! And cardio with TVs attached! And giant hot tubs and saunas! And brand new weights! And Cardio Cinema! And all those other things!

Monday, February 16, 2009

A week of love.

Hello one and all. Since it has been around a week since our last update, here is a more recent one!

Friday we went up to Salt Lake with our friends the Woodburys and Decourseys. We drove up the canyon with 6 sleds, left one car at the bottom, and sled a good 2o minutes down this crazy canyon! It was insanely fun, that we had to jump right back in the car, and drive back up and do it all over again! Thanks for the invite friends!

Well, it was wonderful to finally spend a Valentine's Day together at last. It was in no way easy to spend our V-tines day away from each other during our engagement, so it made it that much more special. We hadn't really had major plans, really, since we are just the types to wing it. Jeff woke me up with delish breakfast in bed, including eggs, pancakes, and the traditional (for the 3rd year in a row) cinnamon buns, along with 3 roses. Last year Jeff had Becky deliver him, since he wasn't able to make it... thanks Becky! But we ate our breakfast, then sat around until late afternoon, working on our talks for the next day. We then later decided to go out to eat for a fancy dinner, and of course how foolish we were to think we would find anywhere with a wait less than 2 hours. Well, we knew it would be busy, but not THAT busy.

We finally made our way to Macaroni Grill, since Jeff had never been, and they gave us a paper saying to come back in about an hour and then we would get a little buzzer to wait. So we stopped by Target, wandered around for a while, and finally made our way back, where the wait was less than 5 minutes! We had a grand old time drawing pictures of love on those glorious table cloths, and eating loaf after loaf of bread. Jeff ended up having an amazing steak, and I had some crazy good pasta something. We were quite satisfied (even though they were out of ice... weird! I usually ask for mostly ice, and a little tiny bit of water when we eat out, but I didn't make a fuss...)

Anyway, a good night was had by both of us. We ended the evening by watching the classic romance, Cats Don't Dance, and felt our day was well spent.

We then rose early to finish off our talks about putting on the armor of God in these last days. Although I have a phobia of public speaking, I was overjoyed that we should be given this topic, as I am very, VERY vocal about this subject. We prepared adequately, and as I stood up to give my talk, I felt the Lord take away all my nerves, and preached his message with full confidence. Jeff also gave a wonderful talk, and the spirit was very present. I am so grateful to have such a wonderful, worthy husband who has such a close relationship with the Savior. Hooray for Jeffery!

So there you have it. An update. I hope all of you had a wonderful weekend fully of love and happiness. Ta!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

An Update!

Since it has been quite some time, I thought I would give you a little update on recent events!
  • I recently started working again, which came at JUST the right time. The scooter accident was just starting to bear down on us financially for the first time, but luckily dad helped me get a full time, well paying job that helps lighten the burden. I work as a graphic designer at Legacy Directories, making hundreds of ads that go into phone books all over the US and Canada. I couldn't ask for a better job, really. All my co-workers (mostly in the same family, as their mum originally started the company, and all of her kids and other relatives work there) are happy, genuine people. As the company is run by the family, there are many small children running around all day, which keeps me entertained, playing Star Wars and trucks with the two little boys Porter and Payton. Anyway, it keeps me busy and earns the money, so I am very happy!
  • Today we got a Costco Membership to celebrate my first paycheck. We feel so official now, and started off our first purchases with Weight Loss shakes and muffins. A woman behind us in the check out line commented on the irony of buying those two items. Ha ha.
  • We were so happy to hang out with Cami and Em and Jane! Thanks for all the fun times and updates on your blogs! Come again soon!!
  • Hooray for Lost being back on!
  • The other day, I went to Zupas to get some soup for my sick Jeffrey, and who of all people should I run into but Lacie! I just thought that was so hilarious of all the people to just run into at the local soup cafe! Usually you run into people you don't see too often, not often times your best friend! Ha ha!
  • The other night Jeff and I attended a Murder Mystery Dinner with some friends! I was playing Windy Skies, a hot air balloonest who crashed in Mexico, and was getting her balloon fixed, and attended the party the night of the murder. Jeff was Sergeant Hernesto Seguro, the local sheriff, who liked to eat and had a gut to show it. We worked so hard on our costumes, and this is what we came up with. Good thing those goggles survived the scooter accident! I thought they were gone for good after that night, but Jeff picked them up luckily!
  • And now some pictures.

I promise this is not a albino girl diving into... pee. The colors got completely thrown off! Here is the link for the real picture on my portfolio : here.

I just thought this was a funny picture of us trying to show Emily and Dad how to make a proper "I feel so sick after all these shakes" face. Obviously we all failed.

Over Christmas Jeff brought these items back from his house in CA. The biggest coat in the world, and the Shopka he gave me! The family thought something had died on our heads. But they soon warmed up to it (literally. Those hats are burning hot!) and had a go themselves!
And finally, Jeff was messing with Em's camera and took this pic. I think it turned out cool, if only I had been wearing make up that day and did my hair, it would have been much more Tyra-worthy.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Since some of you don't know much about Planned Parenthood...

then you probably think that Planned Parenthood is "a cool place where teens can just, ya know, hang out!" Far from the truth. Check out the many resources below, which took me about 2 minutes to dig up. So this is just scraping the surface. I highly recommend watching the videos below, exposing over 700 clinics across the country breaking the law on a daily basis.

Where should these girls go instead? I hear that the LDS Family Services offers great service.



"Planned Parenthood receives millions of dollars every year and is slated for a multi-million dollar bailout in pending legislation, but is held grossly unaccountable for how those dollars are spent. The group's President, Cecile Richards, makes close to a million dollar salary--thanks in part to our taxpayer dollars. While Planned Parenthood lives in luxury, the government lives in denial.

Just yesterday, Live Action released another video implicating Planned Parenthood in a third statutory rape cover-up. Since 2007, nearly a dozen clinic employees from various states have been caught on tape violating federal reporting laws or encouraging racially-motivated donations. If Congress insists on funding Planned Parenthood, shouldn't it be required to follow the law?"
Link.

"Abortion has more than its share of moral complexities, but a panel of experts at FRC headquarters today showed that it poses an especially dangerous threat to women's mental health. To a capacity crowd, experts and clinicians did what the American Psychological Association refused to do in its latest report on abortion and mental health: told the truth-the whole truth-about the relationship between abortion and depression, anxiety disorders, suicide, and substance abuse. The prevalence of these symptoms among the 30 million women who have had the procedure is climbing at an alarming rate. While the research has yet to give pro-abortion leaders pause, the American people are taking the harmful effects of abortion very seriously. In a blockbuster poll released at today's lecture, the Elliot Institute found that 85 percent of American adults believe that "significant emotional problems" after an abortion are "common" or "very common." Only 15 percent of the people surveyed believe that abortion generally makes women's lives better. Seventy-one percent of participants across the ideological spectrum said that conducting research on these post-abortion complications should be a moderate to high priority. David Reardon, director of the Elliot Institute, hinted at the policy implications of the study. "Politicians who ignore the issue of post-abortion complications are ignoring an important concern of the American people." Of equal concern to pro-lifers is that millions of these women are suffering at the hands of government-funded organizations like Planned Parenthood."
Link



"

Personnel from Life Dynamics, based out of Texas, where secret recording of telephone conversations is legal, called 800 abortion clinics around the nation using the following scenario. The caller claiming to be a 13-year old girl who was pregnant by her 22-year old "boyfriend" asked the clinics if they did abortions. The information the girl gave indicated obvious evidence of child abuse, since the caller was a minor and the "boyfriend" was an adult. However, in over 90% of the calls, abortion clinics around the country counseled the girl not to mention the "boyfriend's" age or bring him to the abortion clinic. Here is the content of some of the calls:

Girl: "It's just we don't want a whole lot of people to know about us. Would he have to sign anything?"
Planned Parenthood: "yeah, but I just...don't, don't talk about his age."

Planned Parenthood: "When you go to Norwich, you're going to want to give them a call. Don't tell them that information."
Girl: "then it will be okay?"
Planned Parenthood: "If you do not say the age of your partner."
Girl: "okay."
Planned Parenthood: "Okay, otherwise there's going to be a lot of stuff going on that you're probably not going to want to have happen."

Girl: "They won't ask anything about him?"
Planned Parenthood: "I’m not going to...I’m going to pretend I didn't hear that, okay?"
Girl: "okay."
Planned Parenthood: "don't even bring that up, okay."
Girl: "even if he's taking me there?"
Planned Parenthood: "no, no, don't even go there, don't even bring it up.""

Link

This is multiple taped conversations from Planned Parenthood, breaking the law several times...

And another case of breaking the law...