Sunday, February 26, 2017

As White As Snow

I am liking the snow today...I like it when I can sit in my warm house and watch it fall. It is so pretty...There is a certain magic about things that are that white. We don't see things that are white very often in this world.  The other day as I was shoveling my doorway, the snow was almost glowing. This is because it was windy and the snow got blown in and so it was so fluffy and clean.

I was sitting in the temple the other day and watching everyone. There was a brother who had a shirt that was not as white as I would expect. I kept looking at him, thinking that his shirt did not seem to fit in the environment he was in. Everyone's clothing was bright and very white, except his. Yet I imagine if he were to go outside of the temple, he would fit right in.. and may even seem like he was wearing a clean white shirt.

We must always compare ourselves to the Savior whose clothes and countenance is pure and clean and white. We must strive to be like Him every day, so that we can one day stand before Him purified and clean.

When we stand in front of our Savior at the last day even the smallest sin will make our countenance (not just our shirts or clothing) seem dirty.  Even something that is not brightly white will not be enough. We must be clean...Yet our Savior provides a way for us to become clean. We can repent and He will cleanse us.

The month of February is almost over...This semester has gone by fast. I feel we barely started...March is going to be a crazy month for me. The last month of the semester is usually busy, but there are other things that make this one busy. I am translating for conference, giving a talk at BYU-I (no, not a devotional yet thank Heavens), and other random things. They are painting and changing the carpet on our floor on campus, so I will be homeless (I mean officeless) for a few days in march. That would be interesting.

I have good news, Deseret Book gave an initial approval on my book. We will have a meeting this week to discuss the changes they want to make...I am hoping it is nothing major because I don't want to change a lot in it. I guess we will wait and see...I am excited that I finally get to publish my book. YAY.

I had the Andersons over for dinner today. They are heading to Utah to serve in SLC, I will miss having them here...but I seem to go to Utah often so I will probably get to see them there.

I have been feeling so old. I think my body is 90 years old. I have got to get in shape. I did a few activities yesterday and I feel so tired today. I am thinking of buying a treadmill, but I don't want to spend a lot of money on one. Any suggestions? How do you get started on getting in shape, from couch potato to a normal person? I get so tired every time I try to exercise...don't know how I will keep it up. I have to though or else I may be in an old people's home at age 50.




Sunday, February 19, 2017

Must I always come up with a title?

I am not sure what to write about today...I have been so busy lately and can't seem to focus or think.

I wanted to get out of Rexburg yesterday so I went to Idaho Falls. I have been craving Chinese food, so I found a place and had the worst Chinese food I have ever had.  I kept complaining about the Chinese restaurants in Rexburg, they are amazing compared to this place. The good news is, I didn't get food poisoning because I was 100% sure I would when I walked out of that place.

My calculus students did so well in their test...they really surprised me. I thought they were not understanding, but aside from a few of them, they all did really well. Maybe it was because I told them they would fail the class unless they knew derivatives. They must have really studied and did well. I have had good students this semester...they are in my office asking questions a lot...I guess that is part of the reason I am far behind on a few things.

The snow is almost gone, so there is plenty of room for more which will come for sure. I am glad because that would make it nice and pretty when we start from scratch. It has been windy and rainy the last two days which is so strange for Rexburg in February. We don't normally get rain until March.

March is going to be a super busy month for me. I look at all the things I have to do in March and I am not sure how it will all get done. So, I am trying my best to do what I can this month so that I can have a better month in March. I was going to go to Utah twice to see a dentist friend of mine, but now I am thinking going to Utah 4 times during a month is not going to go be good. I may have to change that plan. I have the MAA conference in April, I have general conference and maybe the Women's session that I am translating so may need to go to. This is all in a period of 3 weeks. And those are the weeks of finals, so it will be interesting.

I am glad we get tomorrow off, but there were many things I was supposed to do on Saturday that I kind of pushed to Monday because I can. I know I should not have done I have no idea how I can get everything done on Monday.

I need to stop complaining that I am busy...I have done that before and was given more things to I won't complain.

Life has been good. I love my job, I am starting to love Rexburg, and maybe even love the snow. The people I work with are amazing.  I had planned to be here for quite a long time...But, we will see what the future brings.

My Sunday School lesson was interesting. I didn't get many people to want to participate. So, I talked a lot. I hope this does not happen each time..This guy gave an amazing talk on repentance today at church. How he completely changed when he repented and how the Holy Ghost sanctified him that he looked at things differently.  He would hear the music he used to listen to and say "when did this song change and become so bad..." or when did the world change and become so bad. When our very nature changes we look at things differently. 


Sunday, February 12, 2017

Loving in the Savior's way

Happy Valentine's day everyone. 
It used to bother me that I was single on Valentine's day. It doesn't anymore because I think of it as a day to show love towards others. 
None of us is truly alone when we have a Heavenly Father who loves us. He loved us enough that He sent His only begotten Son for us. 

In one of the talks at church today, the speaker spoke about how olive oil is made. Although the process that was used in the Savior's time is not used anymore, it is still the same principle. I have been to the olive press with my mom many times to get our olives turned into oil. Olives are literally crushed to make oil. The remains from the olives are nothing but fine mush. Amazingly enough the oil comes out clear and clean. 

It is in that Garden of Gethsemane (the oil press) that my Savior took upon Himself my sins and yours. It is there where the load of our sins seemed too heavy for Him to carry, yet He didn't shrink. He drank the bitter cup, He stood up and carried the cross to Golgotha where He was crucified...for me...

I have often admired the Savior for His ability to see good in everything and everyone. He even saw goodness in those that crucified Him..In the woman at the well, He did not see a sinner or a Samaritan as others labeled her. He saw a great missionary who would be willing to go to her village and tell people about the Savior and bring others to Him. 

I may have shared this Valentine's message before, but I will share it again because I feel in today's world, it is needed.  As we look at the image below, we may not see the 3D image in it. When my brother Maher gave me the first 3D image, it took me 2 days to see it. But, as my eyes got trained on how to look, I can now discern what the image is in a matter of seconds.

Do you see it? Can you  see the heart in the picture? If you can't then it will take some effort on your part...You need to train your eyes.

Our eyes are human eyes. They are not as perfect as the Savior's eyes. As we look at others sometimes we must look harder in order to see the good in them. There is goodness in everyone, no matter who they are and what they have done. 

I am guilty of speaking badly about some people...For example, I spoke badly of Jim (name has been changed) many times. Jim has done bad things; lied, cheated, and abused others. He spoke badly of me to many of my friends, making up all sorts of lies about me. Yet I met 2 people recently who don't know Jim very well and maybe don't know what he has done in the past. They both told me how great Jim is, how he served them, how he has amazing faith and strength. This made me stop and think...Could they be talking about the same Jim I know? How did I not see that in him? I felt that now I was able to see Jim in new eyes. In the Savior's eyes.  The more I reviewed Jim's actions, the more I realized that he did many good things.

I hope that this Valentine's day we can show love to others. I hope we can express words of love to those that we care about.  Sometimes our method of expressing love is simple, yet it is so important to those we show it to. 

Today, I noticed that an elderly sister in our ward has not been to church in 2 weeks. When I asked about her, I found out that she has been having back pains and therefore was not able to leave her home. So, today I went to visit her...I don't know her very well. Yet she was delighted to see me. It took but a few minutes of my time, but I know it meant a lot to her.

This is how we train our eyes to notice notice when they are sick or in need or when they are simply not there...When they are down or depressed...or when they feel unworthy or lonely.  And then we must act, act as the Savior would. To lift and strengthen and bless others.

May we all be more like the Savior, the perfect one in Charity, even the God of love.


Saturday, February 4, 2017

God Does Speak

21 years ago today, I was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That decision changed the course of my life and made me a different person. February 4th, 1996 was the happiest day of my life. 

I remember when my friend, Bryce (on my left in the photo), gave me a Book of Mormon and told me that I should read one chapter then pray to know if the book was true. At that time, I believed in God, but I believed in a God that was silent. I didn't know how or IF Heavenly Father would speak to me. 

I started to read the book. Not just the chapter recommended by Bryce, but the whole book. When I finished the book, there was no doubt in my mind that the book was true and good. I did not need to ask God, for somehow I knew it in my heart.

I started going to church and loved the teachings...I decided to get baptized even though my family and others objected and called me crazy. My heart was sad and I felt I may lose my family and friends. But, the feelings inside my heart telling me that I had found the truth were too strong and I could not turn away.  Doing what Heavenly Father wanted me to do seemed to be more important than anything else in the world.

That night, right before my baptism, my roommate left me alone to pray. I had never before that time asked Heavenly Father if the gospel was true or if I should get baptized. I simply felt it without having the need to ask. But, because of Jessica recommendation, I decided to ask Heavenly Father. With my baptism an hour away, turning back would not even be possible I thought. Why ask?  

Nevertheless, I closed the door behind Jessica and knelt down and prayed.  It was that night that I came to realize that God was real and that He was not silent. That He does speak to us. He spoke to me that night and confirmed to me that I had made the right decision to be baptized. The feeling I had in my heart was so amazing that I stayed on my knees for a long time...It was only when Jessica knocked on the door to say we needed to leave that I got up from my knees. 

Ever since that day in 1996, Heavenly Father has spoken to me many times. He has asked me to do things, He has directed me, He has enlightened my mind, He has answered my questions many times. He speaks to me through the Holy Ghost.

President Packer said: "No one of us can survive in the world of today, much less in what it soon will become, without personal inspiration."

I hope each of you know that you have a Father in Heaven who loves you and who hears your prayers. He answers you when you pray in faith..."Ask and ye shall receive", He said. "Knock and it shall be opened unto you...for everyone that asketh receiveth."

Some of you may be discouraged. Maybe you have asked many times and didn't hear an answer. Don't give up, keep praying, keep asking...the answer will come in His own due time, but make sure you are listening. 

Some of you may have lost your faith. I lost mine one day. Things were very hard and I had no strength left. I wanted to give up. I didn't know if God existed, or if He even cared. I used the last bit of energy I had to kneel down to pray...I said: "Heavenly Father, are you really there?" He was there, and He answered me even though I had a small seed of faith and that was all I could offer.

Please go to Him in prayer. Ask Him the questions you want His His love...He is there, He is real, He is loving, forgiving and kind.