Thursday, April 18, 2013

Thursday ... Yup.

So, Mom's headed home already ... and it was a good visit (as always).

We took the kids to ColdStone and got ice cream (I have to say that The Pie Who Loved Me is preeeeety dang tasty!) ... then we got Bruise and Bucket their Happy Meals and we got Baja Fresh for dinner (Burrito Ultimo, Enchilado Style ... and tons of Pico de Gallo and Mango Salsa? Don't mind if I do!).

She and I also stopped by Jo-Ann and raided the dollar section for some more things to keep the kids entertained on the drive down to vacation. And we got some more lanyard-lacing-stuff ... Now Bruce and Bucket can't lose their sunglasses ... since I made a little sunglasses holder for each of them. Yup. That's about as crafty as I tend to get. *sigh*

Bubbles had the most awful diaper (for her) when I went to change her after we ordered at Baja Fresh ... it was rank ... and, somehow, leaked out of one leg of her diaper into her pants.
I felt like a bad, white-trash mom, as I rolled up her pants, cleaned her as much as I could with ALL the wipes I had, got her into a clean diaper, and carried my Bubbles No-Pants out of the restroom. Good thing we ordered "to go," anyways!

I had fun volunteering this morning. I got to read to Bucket's group ... about Anansi the Spider. The group is so large, that I only read to half of them at a time. But I made sure to do the voices (my "Elephant" voice is much the same as a voice that I'd do for a cow, interesting, no?) ... and I got them their worksheets to do. Good times.

I also (finally) called my Nana to thank her for my birthday card (that I got ... um ... LAST WEEK).
It was good to hear from her ... she had fallen while trying to get back into bed EARLY this morning. She's really fine, thank goodness. And she laughed about it quite a lot.
I'm glad that (1) she's okay ... I mean, she's in her 80s now. She could have broken a hip ... and she's all alone in that house of hers ... and (2) that she's taking it so well. Whew! Between her and my mom, it's not hard to see where my self-effacing sense of humor comes from. ^_^

I didn't read the Conference talk yesterday! I was all about to do it, then Bubbles woke up ... right as Mom got here. Whoops! At least I had read my scriptures, right?

Which I still haven't done YET ... but I AM going to do it/doing it NOW.

So, it's Mosiah 11:1-11:15
  • Zeniff gives the kingdom over to his son, Noah ... Ohhh. I think I know where this is going.
    Oh, yeah. I know this now. This is one of my favorite stories from when I first joined the church. Apparently, it made QUITE an impression on me. Enough so, that I'd say prayers in Sunday School entreating the Lord to punish that "evil King Noah" ... and I'd get it combined enough with the story of the OTHER Ammon, and beg, blood-thirstily for "the arms to be cut off ALL those wicked Lamanites." Yes, be glad that I've mellowed out since then.
    At the same time, I'm sure that you're not all that surprised that I was THAT kid.
  • BUT!! Before I get TOO far ahead of myself, here's the story -- So, Noah becomes king. And, even from the very start, he's not a good king. He doesn't keep the commandments and does whatever he wants. He has lots of wives and concubines and set the people to sinning (Now, it doesn't say that he ordered his people to sin, per se, or if that occurred due to his awful example. I wonder which was the case ... because, frankly, I wouldn't put the first possibility past him.)
  • Unlike his father, Noah has NO desire to work to support himself. So he taxes (20%) of, well, just about everything. The taxes pay to support himself, his wives and concubines, his priests, THEIR wives and concubines ... doesn't sound like he implemented any systems to take care of his people or anything. Boo on that. ... Really, how hard would it have been to at least install a library system?
  • The people had to work to support this poor behavior (to put it mildly) ... and, because of Noah and his priests, they turned away from worshipping the Lord.
  • He uses the riches he's gained to build a lot of (expensive) buildings. With, of course, the best and richest seats for himself and his priests. And he has a tower built so he can look over all his lands and see what's going on around. 
  • In short, he's only looking out for himself and his own comfort. Oh, and he starts getting a bunch of vineyards started ... and he and his people start getting their drink on. ... Like I said, he's not a good ruler. (A good ruler/leader is one who's more concerned with what's best for his/her people ... not just getting a free ride and lots of swag. ... And, looking at the world today, wouldn't that be nice if we had more people out there to serve than to get money and prestige?)
Okay ... and to get caught up on the Conference talks ... before I forget. AGAIN.

First is "A Sure Foundation" by Bishop Dean M. Davies.
  • Listening to this one, Michael and I were amused because Bishop Davies talks like an engineer.
    He isn't ... but he did work in real estate investment, construction, and management industries before being appointed as a general authority for the Church.
    He also worked for the Church, directing construction of meetinghouses, temples, and special project facilities (what those are, exactly, I'm not totally sure ... but, regardless, he doesn't do that anymore, since he's a general authority).
  • He starts talking about the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, which he experienced. He uses the ground the Marina District there was built on as a parable to why WE need to be built on a firm foundation ... so that we will not be destroyed, spiritually, like the devastating effects that occurred from building upon a landfill of sand, dirt, and rubble, which when put under pressure, turned into a liquid-like mass ... and that mass simply cannot support the apartments that were erected upon it.)
  • He likens how the temples today are built to how we should construct our lives.
    They take into account the weather and geology. They study the design and building materials. They work so that the temple can withstand regular weather and occasional storms, yes, but also earthquakes and other, unforeseen, natural calamities that could possibly occur. 
  • We can start with the blueprints of the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel - faith, repentence, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost. These will help anchor our lives to the Atonement of Christ.
    We can do this through prayer, reading the scriptures (NOTE: I'm so glad that he says "reading" as opposed to "studying." Because, right now, I can do reading. I'm TRYING to learn how to STUDY. But I'm not quite there yet. So, hey, I'm doing okay! Phew!), partaking of the Sacrament (other churches often call this Communion), and getting those priesthood ordinances to benefit the structure of our lives.
  • He adds that we have to balance these, just like in mixing concrete (it will fail if there's too much of one element. Yeah, I knew that off the top of my head. Blame that on my being married to an engineer.) We have to also, in our own lives, balance out all the facets of those gospel principles ... or else we'll be weakened and our spiritual habits won't be strong enough to see us through the trials we will face.
  • Of course, while he expounds upon these practices that we need to integrate into our lives, he does state, "While reading the scriptures is good, reading by itself is insufficient to capture the full breadth and depth of the Savior's teachings. Searching, pondering, and applying the words of Christ as taught in the scriptures will bring wisdom and knowledge beyond our mortal understanding. This will strengthen our commitment and provide the spiritual reserve to do our best in all situations." (Yeah ... so I have something to work up to, right?)
  • And, most people who attended Primary (the children's class) were singing, in the back of their heads, the song about the wise man who built his house upon the rock ... and the foolish man built his house upon the sand. Just like the parable in the Bible (New Testament, in case you needed it narrowed down. I can't do any more than that, off the top of my head. Probably because I haven't studied the scriptures enough. *sigh* :P)
The talk for TODAY is Elaine S. Dalton's "We Are Daughters of Our Heavenly Father"
She gave this right before she was released as Young Women's General President.

To be honest, I used to not care for President Dalton as much as I could. When she was first called, I was somewhat irked by how (as I perceived it) she seemed to condescend in her tone when she talked to the youth of the church. ... As I've heard more talks from her, I've grown to appreciate her more and more ... and I don't feel that she's talking down to us (since, face it, I still feel like a teenager inside).
But, with this talk especially, you could really feel how much she loves and cares for the young women she presides over (and those who influence them ... which would be everyone).
  • "What-e'er thou art, act well thy part" -- This statement that she read on a garden gate in Scotland, as a young adult, strengthened her testimony that Heavenly Father KNEW her and had a plan for her ... that SHE mattered.
  • In fact, she wasn't the only one who had been influenced by that adage; David O. McKay (a past prophet) had also been encouraged by such a sign. Enough so that, when the building it was on was being torn down, he obtained that stone and had it placed in a garden at the mission home in Scotland.
  • President Dalton testifies that we, as daughters/children of God are all unique and different -- but each of us has a part that matters, because we each matter. We should always remember that we are children of Heavenly Father and He loves us ... always and without condition, perfectly.
  • She expounds of the strength of women -- how we influence our children (and/or those children that we come into contact with). We women help to nurture and teach. We are companions and coworkers in building the kingdom of God here on Earth.
  • President Dalton lets us ponder on how parents (and leaders) can help young women to know that they are daughters of God ... and she gives us some examples of what we can do: stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all places. We need to exemplify virtue. We need to honor priesthood. We need to show love to our families. Mothers and fathers need to show love and respect in their homes and help each other as equal partners.
    (Whenever I hear people say that LDS/Mormon women are so downtrodden and whatever, I really have to just cock my head at them and wonder what is going on. We have wonderful leaders who are women. We get to share in priesthood power. Heck, once a temple president stated, flat-out, Heavenly Father loves women more. I know that there are women out there, even in the church, who may not feel as recognized or they might feel less powerful ... And my heart goes out to them. I figure that they probably just are wanting to serve MORE. And power to them to have a righteous desire like that. I, however, am strong in my opinion that I don't want to wield the priesthood like Michael does. Because what with taking care of my family and fulfilling my calling, I do not want any more responsibility than what I already have. I say this as a woman who knows that her husband can be called upon, at any time (since he keeps himself worthy to hold and utilize the priesthood), to give a blessing. And, when the need is there, he SHOULD go [if he really can't make it, like because we're out of town or whatever, he finds someone who can] ... That's what having the priesthood is all about, in my mind. It's being worthy to serve ... and serving at every opportunity. That's a LOT of responsibility. ... But, I do agree that boys do seem to have more opportunity for recognition, what with Scouting and people sustaining the advancement in the priesthood. Still, I'm glad that they've revamped the Personal Progress program so that girls can be recognized much more for all the effort and discipline that they've demonstrated. It's small steps sometimes, but we're working toward good things.)
Wow ... that was a bit of a tangent at the end, no? ... But still ... they were good talks. And I'm liking the opportunity of this 40-day challenge to read (and, in the case of Priesthood session, get acquainted with) these talks.

Now, I should go restart the laundry or something, right? 

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