Friday, January 30, 2009

My Nuggets of Motherly Wisdom

Here are some tiny bits of wisdom I've gleaned lately:

If you have any kind of writing utensil anywhere in the house, your child will find it and proceed to draw on himself, the couch, the wall, the door, the books, and the carpet. Especially favored are the darker colors on the lighter backgrounds.

When feeding a young child spaghetti be sure to remove all clothing since more spaghetti will appear on said child than in that child.

After spaghetti dinners, remember to only remove the diaper immediately before setting child in bathtub because if you remove it with any lag time (like waiting for the water to warm up) you will most likely have more than water on the floor.

Asking small children to not splash while in the tub really means "splash all you want and if you can hit the wall across the bathroom with the water, you win." They especially like it if they can completely soak Mom in the process.

As my friend, Coolwhip, would agree toilet water is not lethal. In fact, it doesn't even make a child sick, it only makes Mom sick.

Never allow a small child to play with a cellphone that has not had service in 5 years (but was powered on by Mom because the child wanted to play with the ringtones that still work) because that child can, in fact, dial 911 and reach a real, live 911operator who won't be pleased that it wasn't an actual call. And if that child hands you the phone and says, "A lady on the phone has an emergency," don't use your silly voice thinking you're only playing a game. After apologizing profusely to the unhappy operator, promptly remove the battery from the phone.

Most importantly, have a sense of humor while raising children because if you don't laugh, you'll cry.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Smack that Camel's Nose

In my previous post, I wrote that we usually don’t commit a serious sin without having first invited Satan into our lives one step at a time—just like the camel in the story.

Satan is so subtle and tricky. He knows that if he presents the idea of committing sin all at once we’d see it for what it is and we wouldn’t succumb. He tempts and tantalizes us with seemingly small indiscretions until, sometimes before we even realize it, we are neck deep in transgression.

I know of a primary president and bishop who began sharing rides to leadership meetings. They visited on the way to the meetings and struck up a close friendship. Soon they were confiding in each other and finding reasons to spend time together. Eventually, they both left their families and ran off together. The first step, sharing a ride to leadership meetings seemed innocent enough. After all, they were doing their callings. But, Satan knows how to reach us if we let him. Letting down our guard, even for a moment, can result in disastrous consequences.

How can we smack that camel on the nose and tell him to get the heck out of our tent?

Pray

Prayer is our opportunity to converse with Heavenly Father. We can pour out our hearts, ask for strength to overcome our weaknesses, and listen for his promptings.
We are counseled in the scriptures to always have a prayer in our hearts. If we are consistently praying each day, at least morning and night, we will be sensitive to the Spirit and will be able to hear the still small voice when it warns us of spiritual, or even physical, danger.

Study the Scriptures

We have been blessed with prophets’ words and direct counsel from the Lord in the scriptures. For most of life’s problems, we can find answers in the scriptures. The more we read and study them, the more we’ll rely on them to solve our problems and comfort us through trials. Regular, consistent, daily scripture study will bring us closer to God and strengthen our testimonies.

People who fall away from the gospel usually begin by neglecting their daily prayers and eliminating scripture study. The combination of praying and scripture study will do more to keep us close to the Lord on a daily basis than anything else.

Keep the Commandments

Of course, consistently trying to keep the commandments will keep Satan at bay. It won’t stop his attempts to thwart us on our journey back to Heavenly Father, but it will give us the ability to see his attempts more clearly and the strength to shun his temptations.

Attend the Temple

When we take the time to attend the temple and participate in temple work for the deceased, we are performing a service that is closest to what the Savior has done for us. He took upon him our sins and brought about the atonement because none of us has the power to do that for ourselves. We needed him to be our Savior. It is the same with temple work. Those that have died do not have the ability or power to participate in these saving ordinances, they need someone, a savior, who can do for them what they cannot do for themselves.

The service that we render in the temple combined with the peace that the world cannot duplicate, will give us added strength to turn from Satan and follow the only path that leads to God and eternal happiness.

It may take some strong muscles to smack that camel, but when we’re empowered with prayer, scripture study, keeping the commandments, and temple attendance we’ll flex our spiritual muscles and send that camel flying every time he sticks his nose inside our tent.

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Monday, January 26, 2009

My Current Work-in-Progress

I'm working on my next novel--I do realize the characters are not real people and do not age :).

I've decided to try a new method for organizing what I want to include in the novel. A friend of mine suggested using a long strip of craft paper and laying out all the details on that paper. I took my butcher paper, cut off a long piece, and started placing post-it notes all over the paper in a somewhat linear fashion. I've already replaced several post-it notes and changed them around, which is what's so nice about this method. I need to see the whole story from beginning to end.

I know the ending and I know what I want to happen within the story. But, I haven't been sure how to begin it or how to move from one event to another. The story in my head is beautiful. It's emotionally moving and has such an important overall theme. Yet, I'm not sure I can translate the beauty of the story to the page. This particular story is very close to my heart and very important to me and I want to write it in such a way that it touches people.

I'm hoping that this new method will allow me to see the story in a different way and know how to get from point A to point B. Once I start writing it, I want to write the first draft all the way through without a long pause to figure things out.

My first book was a work-in-progress for years. My second book, due out later this year, is a fun, and hopefully funny, romance and I knew the story in my head so well it was easy to write. I thought I'd try this new method to see how it works for my current WIP and see if once I know the linear events, my mind will feel free enough to truly tell this story in the best way that I know how.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Beware Your Tent

A traveler set up a tent in the wilderness. He snuggled under his covers for his night’s sleep. The night became cold and his camel poked his nose into the tent. The owner asked the camel what he was doing and the camel replied that it was cold outside and if he could only put his nose inside the tent, he would warm up and then spend the rest of the night outside. The owner agreed to allow the camel to place his nose inside the tent because, after all, the camel’s request made sense and it was only his nose inside the tent. There was still plenty of room for the traveler.

Soon the camel asked, “I’m still cold. Could I please place my head inside your tent? I will warm up soon and then spend the rest of the night outside.” The traveler considered the request. He didn’t want his camel to be cold so, once again, he granted the camel’s wish because, after all, it was only his head and there was still room for the traveler inside the tent.

After several minutes, the camel said, “May I please place my front feet inside your tent? They are so cold out here. If only I can warm my feet for a few minutes, then I promise I will spend the rest of the night outside.”

The traveler thought about it. There would be less room in the tent, but it was cold and he believed the camel’s promise to spend the rest of the night outside as long as he could warm his feet. The traveler allowed the camel to place his feet inside the tent.

Not long after, the camel asked, “Can I take just a few steps inside? I’m sure I’ll warm up and then I’ll definitely spend the rest of the night outside.”
By now the traveler was feeling crowded inside the tent, but he consented to the camel’s request.

After 30 minutes, the camel took a few more steps inside the tent. Before the traveler realized it, the camel had entered completely inside the tent and the traveler’s only option was to go outside and leave the camel inside the tent. So the owner spent the night outside in the cold, filled with regret that he had allowed the camel to first place his nose inside the tent.

And so it is with Satan. He doesn’t jump into our lives, we allow him in step-by-step, bit-by-bit. No one wakes up and decides to commit adultery that very day. It starts with impure thoughts. If we fan those thoughts by accessing pornography or frequenting online chat rooms, more likely than not, we’ll next begin an improper relationship, until we finally commit adultery. If we have an impure thought and immediately thrust it from our mind, we’ll probably not follow the path that leads to infidelity.

Satan isn’t satisfied with just a few followers. He’s greedy, he wants all of us.
And, he’s been practicing his game for so long he’s extremely good at it. He can deceive us into thinking that good is evil and evil is good. He can trick us into justifying our behavior. He can, and will, lead us carefully down to hell before he abandons us to live with the consequences of our actions. It only starts with a nose inside the tent .

In my next post, I’ll discuss ways to smack that nose and get it out of our tents. Stay tuned . . . .

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Characters or Real People?

I'm working on my new LDS novel. I outlined it some time ago and recently went back to reread my notes. I'd listed the ages of all the characters and as I looked at their ages I thought, "Oh, but they're older now." I then tried to figure out how old they are now that some time has passed. I had to stop and remind myself that characters don't age like real people do because they aren't actually real people. For a moment, I forgot they weren't real and thought they'd aged just like I have. Either I'm a writer, or I'm nuts. Hopefully, it's the former and not the latter.

I love the process of writing and delving into the minds and hearts of my characters. I love seeing the story take shape, even if it veers away from my outline. It's exciting to write a story and get to know my characters so well. I guess now I just have to keep reminding myself that they are characters, not real people (at least not to anyone else but me).

Monday, January 19, 2009

Following Christ

The world sends confusing and conflicting messages. It may be hard to navigate the waters of morality when it seems to be so relative these days. What is right? What is wrong? Is there a way to know which path to follow to have joy and peace in an ever-increasingly turbulent world?

The answer is yes. We can find peace and joy. We can know what’s right and what’s wrong. We have a light to guide us in the darkness. It is in following the example of Jesus Christ, in becoming like him, that we can overcome the mixed messages of the world as well as our own weaknesses and find our way back to our Heavenly Father.

As we read and study the scriptures, we can emulate The Savior’s qualities and characteristics. We know that he was meek. Does that mean he was weak? Absolutely not. He was willing to submit his will to the Father’s, but he was never weak. He was humble and lowly of heart, which means he did not think he knew more than Heavenly Father. Yes, he had the power to forgo the agony of the atonement, but he was willing to do his father’s will no matter how painful. He came to glorify the Father not himself.

He was full of love and compassion. His love was unconditional. Sometimes, it’s difficult to understand the concept of loving someone, but not loving his or her choices. We’re told by loved ones or friends that if we don’t accept their lifestyle choices then we don’t love them, They do not understand the concept of unconditional love. The Savior loves us all despite the choices we make and the sins we commit. Does he approve of, or accept, sin? No. He cannot look on sin with the least degree of allowance, yet he still loves us.

Jesus was constantly serving others. He didn’t focus on himself, he lost himself in the service of others. He spent time teaching, healing, and speaking to those that would listen and believe. He spent hours upon hours at a time teaching the gospel without complaint.

He was obedient. He did not argue or complain, he simply followed the commands of Heavenly Father. Through the story of Saul in the Old Testament we learn how important it is to be obedient and Jesus was the ultimate example of obedience.

As we face different decisions in our life, we can follow the pattern he’s set for us and ask ourselves, “What would Jesus do?” Would he yell at the person who cut him off in line, call someone an ugly name, or belittle someone? Would he be impatient, unkind, or cruel? Would he lie, cheat, or steal? Would he gossip, avoid a calling, or skip church to go to the lake? When we ask ourselves what the Savior would do, it makes the decision much clearer than when we depend on our own ability to make decisions.

It is a lifelong pursuit to become like the Savior. It’s not easy to overcome our human tendencies. But, the more that we follow his example, the easier it will be to overcome our weaknesses, make better decisions, and become like him. The Savior said, “Come follow me.” As we do this, we will find the peace that only he can offer us.

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Friday, January 16, 2009

David and Goliath

I remember hearing the story of David and Goliath even when I was a kid attending other churches. It seemed like the ultimate underdog-defeats-giant-and-comes-out-the-victor story that shows even the smallest of us has a chance.

While that’s true, the real lesson is quite different. The Philistines intended to overtake the Israelites. They’d been at war, as has been the cycle for the children of Israel. The Philistines presented a great warrior who was not only large, he was fierce and determined to subject the Israelites to Philistine rule once and for all. Goliath of Gath declared, “ . . . choose you a man for you, and let him come down to me. If he be able to fight with me, and to kill me, then will we be your servants: but if I prevail against him, and kill him, then shall ye be our servants, and serve us. . . . I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man that we may fight together” (1 Samuel 17:8-10).

Goliath boasted of his own strength and relied upon himself. He was sure that no man could kill him. When he saw a young David, he was even more sure of himself. What he didn’t realize was that what David lacked in physical strength and stature, he more than made up for in his faith in God. David relied solely upon the Lord to help him defeat Goliath. David said, “ . . . who is this uncircumcised Philistine , that he should defy the armies of the living God?” (1 Samuel 17:26).

Goliath stood ready with his armor, sword, and spear while David had a slingshot and some stones he’d found. David told Goliath, “ . . . I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand . . .” (1 Samuel 17:45-46). David had faith in the power of the Lord and with one small stone he killed Goliath.

Was it the force of the stone that killed the giant? I doubt it. I believe it was David’s complete faith and obedience to the Lord that destroyed Goliath. Surely, Goliath’s physical strength would’ve overpowered a young boy such as David, but the Lord chose to allow David to slay Goliath. The Lord rarely strikes people down, but rather allows natural events to fulfill his purposes.

What can we learn from this story? We all have goliaths in our own lives. One person’s “goliath” may not be another person’s, but we all have things that seem insurmountable at the time. When my son was diagnosed with Down syndrome, I felt as if it was a goliath in my life. I wasn’t sure how I could deal with it along with raising all of my other children. But, I learned that with the Lord’s help nothing is impossible. Yes, my son still has Down syndrome, but I have no doubt at all that the Lord will bless me to deal with whatever comes from his diagnosis and to be the best mother I can be to him and that he will bless my son to accomplish whatever mission he has to accomplish here on earth.

No matter what we encounter, if we rely on the Lord, he will steady and strengthen us, even when the odds don’t look like they’re in our favor. When my sister-in-law faced lung cancer, she may have seen it as a goliath in her life. Though she didn’t beat the cancer in this life, cancer didn’t beat her in the next. She never lost her testimony and fully relied on the Lord until the day she passed away.

May we all face our own goliaths with the faith of David and make sure that we slay that which stands in our way or eternal exaltation.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Fight the Freedom of Choice Act

A new piece of legislation is being presented to our government representatives. It's called the Freedom of Choice Act and basically legalizes abortion on demand. It strips parents of any rights as well as overturns any state laws on abortion. Planned Parenthood is spearheading it--big shock, Planned Parenthood has got to be one of the worst organizations to ever be in existence. It's a cancer on our society.

Barack Obama has promised to sign it as soon as he's in office. While I didn't vote for him for so many reasons, I thought, as a father, he'd at least have some sense of compassion for innocent lives. Apparently not.

For the life of me, I cannot understand why anyone in their right mind would ever, ever support infanticide. That's what FOCA is, it's infanticide. Our society has degenerated to the point that we want to rid it of innocent children as easily as we take out the trash.

I don't know how much good it will do, because personally I've lost confidence in our government's ability to do the right thing, but you can go here www.fightfoca.com and sign a petition to try to stop this horrendous legislation.

It's so simple, if you don't want to have a baby, don't do that which will create one. No one has ever died from practiciing abstinence, but millions have died from not practicing it.

Let's stop the hideous and irresponsible practice of killing innocent babies!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Warning about Sears

Last year we purchased a rototiller from Sears. This last fall, my husband was rototilling when the tiller stopped working. I called Sears to make sure it was still under warranty, which it was. A woman at the 800 number instructed us to load up the tiller (no easy feat), and take it into the Sears store (30 miles away) for service. When my husband arrived at the store, he was told that their policy was to have a technician come to our home and they wouldn't take the tiller for service. They acted as if he was lying when he said we were only following instructions from their own 800 number. Finally, they relented and agreed to take our tiller.

That was 2 months ago. We haven't heard a word about it even though they said it'd be ready in December. I decided to call yesterday. Have you ever called Sears? They have the most ridiculous automated calling system. I finally reached a live person who then transferred my call to the wrong person. I called back and waded through the automated system to once again speak to a real person. This guy put me on hold and after 30 minutes, I hung up. I then tried to call the local store which also has the ridiculous automated calling system. After going the rounds with that phone system and ending up with no answers, I called the 800 number again.

The poor woman who finally answered probably didn't enjoy my phone call. I'd been trying to get a simple answer about my rototiller for almost an hour by the time I reached her. She quickly connected me to someone in a back office who wasn't happy that my call had been routed to him. However, he proved to be the most helpful. After being on hold for another 10 minutes, he finally told me that my tiller wasn't ready and wouldn't be until they replaced the transmission. He said they'd call me yesterday to give me an update. Big shock: no phone call from Sears yesterday or today.

So, the new rule at our house is that we will never again buy from Sears. This wasn't our first experience. We had problems trying to get Sears to honor a warranty on a water pressure tank that leaked all over our basement (we couldn't get the part on our own and the only way to get the part under warranty was to pay a certified technician from a city 150 miles away to drive to our house to fix it which was more expensive than buying a new pressure tank) and when our dishwasher malfunctioned (water pump, heater in water pump) the technician they sent (they finally contracted with a local service company) not only did nothing to resolve the problem, he decided, quite rudely, to invalidate our warranty because we have hard water (even though the water had no contact with the self-enclosed water pump). This same dishwasher caught fire in the control panel and could've burned down my house if we hadn't been home to put it out. So, I'm not a fan of Sears, but this is the last time I ever buy from Sears.

You've been warned: if you purchase anything with a warranty from Sears be prepared for aggravation.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Atonement

For Christmas, we received the book, Reflections of Christ, by Mark Mabry. It is a collection of photos representing the life of the Savior. As I thumbed through its pages, I couldn’t help but feel a deep reverence for the Savior and his mission here on earth because this book presents such a powerful representation of the Savior’s birth, baptism, calling to teach, his crucifixion, and finally his triumphant resurrection.

I again looked through this book while listening to Oh Lord, My Redeemer by Jeff Goodrich on his album, I Heard Him Come. I felt an overwhelming sense of the Spirit and, once, again, my testimony of the Savior and his atoning sacrifice grew.

The depth of the atonement is hard to understand. I have no idea how Jesus was able to physically take upon him the sins of the world. I can’t comprehend how that was accomplished, but I know, somehow, it was. I know the pain and sorrow I’ve felt at different times in my life, I can’t fathom what he felt as he knelt in the Garden of Gethsemane as my own pain was multiplied by everyone who ever has, or ever will, live on this earth. No wonder he bled from every pore. He suffered something that none of us can begin to grasp.

I find it difficult to view photos or paintings depicting his crucifixion because I imagine the agony and physical pain he endured for me. It’s hard to think about that. It’s even harder to think about how often I need the atonement and the pain that I’ve personally caused the Savior.

The atonement has loosed the bands of death that came as a result of Adam’s transgression. Every single person that has ever lived on the earth, or will ever live on the earth, will be resurrected and live again. That is a gift to all of humanity. But, the most important part of the atonement is that Jesus paid the price for our sins, and if we are willing the make the atonement effective in our lives, we can once again return to him. He paid the price so we don’t have to. All we have to do is look to him and choose to take advantage of the atonement by repenting of our sins and then following his commandments.

I think it’s important for each of us to think about what the atonement means to us personally. Do we truly have our own testimony that Jesus is the Son of God and his willing sacrifice made it possible to return to Heavenly Father? Do we make the atonement effective in our own individual lives? What do we need to do each day to take advantage of what the atonement offers us?

Though my finite, mortal mind cannot fully comprehend the atonement, I have a testimony that it exists and that Jesus is the Christ. I have a testimony that he is my Savior and my Redeemer and if I can be humble enough to repent of my sins and come unto him, I can someday return to my Heavenly Father and enjoy the blessings of exaltation.

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Friday, January 9, 2009

Learning from Saul

Studying the Old Testament had been quite interesting. The choices of the children of Israel continue to fascinate me. It seems like they all have short-term memory loss. The best example of this is when Moses parts the Red Sea, a miracle right before their eyes, and after they cross on dry ground, they choose to fashion an idol out of gold. It’s hard to understand why the majority of those who had witnessed God’s power would fall away so easily.

Later on, during the time of Samuel, again the Israelites made a bad choice when they asked Samuel for a king. Samuel tried to warn them of the dangers of having a king, but they wouldn’t listen and insisted on a monarch. The Lord, in his infinite love and patience with the house of Israel, revealed to Samuel that Saul should serve as king because he was a “choice young man, and a goodly: and there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he . . .” (1 Samuel 9:2). Apparently, the Lord was allowing the Israelites to use their free agency to choose a king and he wanted to give them the best opportunity to succeed.

Saul proved to be a good king for a time until he made the mistake of performing a priesthood ordinance that he was not authorized to perform. He was instructed to wait for Samuel and then Samuel would offer burnt offerings to the Lord, but Saul, after waiting the seven days that Samuel asked him to wait, became worried that his army would be destroyed before Samuel came to offer the sacrifice. Saul apparently understood that he needed the Lord’s help, but instead of waiting for the Lord’s anointed servant, he took it upon himself to offer the sacrifice.

When Samuel found out, he told Saul, “Thou hast done foolishly; thou hast not kept the commandment of the Lord thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the Lord have established thy kingdom upon Israel forever” (1 Samuel 13:13). The Lord was planning to manifest great power through Saul, but could no longer do so because Saul had not kept the commandment to wait for Samuel and had offered the burnt offering himself.

Saul was then commanded to kill all the Amalekites, but chose to save their wicked king, Agag, and some of their best animals for the purpose of sacrificing the animals to the Lord. Because of this choice, the Lord rejected Saul as king and the spirit of the Lord left him. Samuel taught Saul a very important lesson, “ . . .Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams” (1 Samuel 15:22).

What can we learn from Saul? He was, at one time, a righteous man who wanted to serve the Lord and listen to Samuel, but then made the mistake of relying on himself instead of on the Lord. How many times do we try to make decisions without the Lord? Or, know what the Lord wants us to do, but think we know better than the Lord? Saul could’ve been a great leader and been an important instrument in the hands of God. So it is with us. We can also be great instruments in advancing the kingdom of God, but we must hearken to his counsel and follow his commandments. When we do, the Lord will magnify us in ways we cannot even comprehend.

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Thursday, January 8, 2009

Donald Trump's Hair

Yeah, I know I already posted today, but I just saw an interview with Donald Trump. I thought the photos I posted of my daughter's hair on Tuesday were hilarious, but Donald's hair "trumps" hers by a long shot because he wears it for real. Can someone please tell that man that his hair is ridiculous? I mean, come on, he's worth billions, can't he find a decent hairdresser to fix that thing?

"Hairs" to him finding a new do for 2009!

My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison


After her boyfriend dumps her for her older sister, sophomore Savannah Delano wishes she could find a true prince to take her to the prom. Enter Chrissy (Chrysanthemum) Everstar: Savannah’s gum-chewing, cell phone–carrying, high heel-wearing Fair Godmother. Showing why she’s only Fair—because she’s not a very good fairy student—Chrissy mistakenly sends Savannah back in time to the Middle Ages, first as Cinderella, then as Snow White. Finally she sends Tristan, a boy in Savannah’s class, back instead to turn him into her prom-worthy prince. When Savannah returns to the Middle Ages to save Tristan, they must team up to defeat a troll, a dragon, and the mysterious and undeniably sexy Black Knight.

Janette Rallison is hilarious in person, and on the page. This book is no exception. I love her humor and how effortlessly she weaves it into her writing. This book is fun and entertaining. It's a great read with the twist on the whole fairy tale thing. Clever story. I really enjoyed the "fair" godmother twist, too. Oh, and a few of the names like James Dashner and Boyd Gardner--they seem very familiar.

I love Janette's writing style and that her books are clean and full of fun.

Doesn't the cover just make you want to read the book? If you have a teen girl in your life, this book would be a perfect gift.

Janette is running a contest on her blog and giving away a copy of My Fair Godmother to the winner. Check it out.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Monday, January 5, 2009

Do Not Defile Our Bodies

“Your body is God’s sacred creation. Respect it as a gift from God, and do not defile it in any way. Through your dress and appearance, you can show the Lord that you know how precious your body is. You can show that you are a disciple of Jesus Christ” (For the Strength of Youth, p. 14).

When I was a kid, my next door neighbor pierced my ears. She froze my earlobes and then stuck a needle through them with some attached thread. Unfortunately, the holes were uneven so when I was a little older, I had them pierced a second time hoping to get an even set of holes. Since I then had two holes, I wore a diamond stud that belonged to my mother in one of my ears along with a pair of earrings.

My father had given my mom the almost-invisible-speck-of-a-diamond earrings when they were a young married couple. Even though they couldn’t afford the earrings, my mom treasured them, especially after my father’s death. When my mother passed away, my sister and I inherited those earrings. We split the pair and each took one to wear. I wore that stud for years. It made me think of my parents and somehow helped me feel a little closer to my mother.

When President Hinckley asked us to only wear one pair of earrings, I was distraught. I didn’t want to give up wearing my mom’s earring. It was tiny and hardly noticeable. I reasoned that I wasn’t all pierced up or anything and surely a little earring wouldn’t keep me from my eternal salvation. After I gave it much thought, though, I decided to remove that earring.

“Do not disfigure yourself with tattoos or body piercings” (For the Strength of Youth, p. 16). If our bodies are our temples, then it makes sense that we shouldn’t defile them, either with our dress (or lack of it) or with lots of piercings or tattoos. Personally, I would never be interested in getting a tattoo because I hate needles and it looks far too painful. Besides, I’d be the only one ever to contract AIDS or something from the needle.

As a result from the fallout after voters in California passed Amendment 8, one of our temples in Washington was vandalized. We were all horrified at the thought of someone physically defiling one of our temples. Even when we see graffiti painted on other buildings it seems wrong. How is it any different with our bodies? Heavenly Father has blessed us with incredible physical housings for our spirits. I’m sure he is just as bothered to see some of us “decorate” the outside of our bodies with inappropriate and immodest attire. We should be vigilant in adorning our bodies, or temples, with that which is good in the sight of God.

Return to the neighborhood.

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Sunday, January 4, 2009

Happy New Year with Cereal

We had a fun New Year's Eve celebration. My son especially enjoyed his crown!




And just to make sure I knew one of his resolutions was to continue to make messes, he showed me himself! Cereal anyone?

Friday, January 2, 2009

Modest is Hottest

Years ago, belly shirts were popular. Honestly, most of the girls who wore the belly shirts shouldn’t have been drawing so much attention to that particular part of their bodies. While I was serving in YW, we had a problem with girls wearing extra short shirts to Mutual. We tried non-offensive tactics to encourage the girls to wear more modest clothing, but nothing seemed to work. Apparently, the YM leaders had also noticed and one evening I saw a YM leader with a roll of duct tape in his hands. The next thing I knew, he was wrapping the duct tape around the middle of one of our young women to cover her stomach. A little radical, but it definitely sent a message.

I remember attending PTA meetings with a mother who always wore micro-mini shorts and revealing shirts. Not only were her clothing choices completely inappropriate for our meetings, she had tons of cellulite and it was so unattractive. I always wonder why older women wear low-cut shirts or short skirts. Do they think it fools the rest of us into thinking they’re still teenagers? Sorry, but sagging and cellulite just aren’t attractive—cover it up.

“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? . . . The temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (1 Corinthians 3:16-17).

“Your body is God’s sacred creation. Respect it as a gift from God, and do not defile it in any way. Through your dress and appearance, you can show the Lord that you know how precious your body is. You can show that you are a disciple of Jesus Christ” (For the Strength of Youth, p. 14).

Dressing modestly shows the Lord that we respect our body and ourselves. While we should not judge people for the way they dress, the way someone dresses is a reflection of who he/she is and how he/she feels about himself/herself and the gospel.

My grandma used to say, “If you’ve got it, flaunt it.” There’s certainly nothing wrong with looking good and dressing nicely, but wearing revealing clothing only serves to pique the wrong kind of interest. When my son attended high school, he’d come home and tell us how difficult it was to keep his mind clear in preparation for his mission when girls were wearing such low necklines. He had to avert his eyes on many occasions.

While young men have a responsibility to keep their minds clean and pure, girls have a responsibility to not provoke impure or unclean thoughts. “Never lower your dress standards for any occasion. Doing so sends the message that you are using your body to get attention and approval and that modesty is only important when it is convenient” (For the Strength of Youth, p. 15).

Young men and women that dress modestly look better and are more attractive. Rather than succumb to the low dress standards of our society, we should embrace modesty and shout out that, “Modest is hottest.”

Return to the neighborhood.

And while you're there, subscribe to our fantastic newsletter. Welcome to the yourLDSneighborhood newsletter. In addition to being able to shop in the new virtual neighborhood, the LDS newsletter brings you LDS articles, LDS products, LDS services, LDS resources and LDS interviews from around the world—all with an LDS focus. Look for issues delivered to your email inbox every week on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. LDS Newsletter Subscriptions are FREE, and joining is easy.