What did the patriarchs Daniel, Noah, Enoch, Job, Joseph, Abraham, and others like them have in common? They had a purpose in life and a strength of character unequaled in their generation. They were men who chose the right because it was right and left consequences with God. They were men who would rather die than perform one act of disobedience toward God.
Noah built and voyaged alone. His neighbors laughed at his strangeness, and perished.
*How hard is it to stand alone in your values?
*Think ahead at what you would do in life situations that could cause you to compromise your values?
*Come up with some situations and role play.
It is human to stand with the crowd; it is divine to stand alone.
It is manlike to follow the people, to drift with the tide; it is godlike to follow a principle, to stem the tide.
It is natural to compromise conscience and follow the social and religious fashion for the sake of gain or pleasure; it is divine to sacrifice both on the altar of truth and duty.
From the book Education, page 57, we find these words: The greatest want of the world is the want of men,--men who will not be bought or sold; men who in their inmost souls are true and honest; men who do not fear to call sin by its right name....
*To have the approval of your conscience when you are alone with your thoughts is like being in the company of true and loving friends. To merit your own self-respect gives strength of character. Conscience is the link that binds your soul to the spirit of God. ~ President David O. McKay
The first company of Mormon pioneers, led by Brigham Young, officially entered the Valley of the Great Salt Lake on July 24, 1847.
For Latter-day Saints, this event has come to signal the founding of a new homeland for the purpose of establishing their earthly Zion.
Ox-drawn float, Pioneer Day, 1880
Mormon pioneers first commemorated this new beginning in 1849,
two years after arriving in the Valley.
The celebration took place near the spot that Brigham Young had recently designated as the site of a future Temple,
the holiest place in Mormondom.
The observance consisted of a procession which led Brigham Young from his home to a bowery on Temple Square to which members of the nearly twenty local LDS congregations had marched earlier that morning behind their respective bishops.
Under the bowery, Young presided over a devotional full of both religious reverence and zeal.
The celebration ended with a thanksgiving feast for a bountiful harvest and the blessings of a merciful God.
From these obscure but auspicious beginnings, Pioneer Day (also called Covered Wagon Days, Days of `47, or simply July 24th) has grown into one of the largest regional celebrations in the United States.
Salt Lake City remains the center of this observance, but the founding of a Mormon homeland is annually commemorated throughout the Mormon Culture Region and elsewhere among LDS congregations.
I get together with my Sister's once a year for a sister-retreat. Even though we are all different, we have come to love these get-togethers.
I wondered as I prepared this lesson;
Why do we get along so well?
Why do we feel like best friends?
We've learned to accept one another, both our strengths and our weaknesses.
We are not jealous or envious.
Some weaknesses have become endearing.
It's all about acceptance, understanding, and love!
How fortunate we are to have the sisterhood we share in the gospel and in the Willow Wood Ward.
I am looking forward to the RS Encampment.
There is a story in the New Era by Larry A. Hiller called, "Pockets-full-of-rocks", about a man that decided to pick up a rock and put it in his pocket every time he had been wronged or someone made him angry. He did this to remind him of how he felt.
He started picking up rocks every time this happened until his pockets became so full that he had to start pilling them in his house. His collection became so big that it covered most every part of his home. He even sometimes placed a rock in his bed so he could remember to be angry about an incident through the night.
One day he received a call from a Geology Professor that had heard about his collection and wanted to bring his class to see the rocks. Upon asking about the rocks, the professor and the class learned of how his collection came to be.
"That is very interesting", said the professor upon learning the origin of the collection. "Can we also see your other collection while we are here?"
The man said he didn't have one, but wondering what the professor meant, he ask what other collection the professor thought he would have.
The professor said, "I thought you would have a collection of things from all the times someone was kind or did something nice for you."
This made the man think. He decided to get rid of his rocks and plant something in his yard every time someone was nice instead. His neighbors watched him haul off all his rocks and loved his unexplained new found love for gardening!
Are we harboring rocks or planting flowers? A good question to ask ourselves.
"If we are looking for fault we will find it. If we are looking for good we will find it!"
Life is far greater and full of more happiness when we focus on the good and forget about the bad.
As President Uchtdorf has said, "We are not perfect. The people around us are not perfect. People do things that annoy, disappoint, and anger. In this mortal life it will always be that way.
"Sometimes we can take offense so easily. On other occasions we are too stubborn to accept a sincere apology. Who will subordinate ego, pride, and hurt - then step forward with, "I am truly sorry!" Let's be as we once were: friends. Let's not pass to future generations the grievances, the anger of our time"?
President Monson gave a talk in Conference, April 2002 called, Hidden Wedges. He told of a great walnut tree that fell to splinters in a storm because of a splitter wedge. One that had been left between a limb and the tree then forgotten about. As the tree grew it enveloped the wedge which made it week and vulnerable to destruction.
Where do our hidden wedges originate? Some come from unresolved disputes which lead to ill feelings, followed by remorse and regret. Others find their beginnings in disappointments, jealousies,arguments, and imagined hurts. We must solve them - lay them to rest and not leave them to canker, fester, and ultimately destroy.
I remember many years ago, Stan was called to be the Cub Master. He was excited about this calling and worked very hard to do a good job and make it fun for the boys. On one occasion when he had gone to extra effort, he was criticized for what he had done. The ole' mama bear came out in me and I wanted to give this person a piece of my mind. Stan, being the better person, convinced me that it wasn't important, that he was learning and that maybe he should have done something different.
"To be wronged or robbed is nothing unless you continue to remember it." - Chinese Philosopher Confucious
Do we have charity for others? Are we the Gentiles mocking others for their perceived "weakness" when all they are trying to do is "be faithful"?
Rather than dwell on the faults of others, I need to focus on my own efforts to be Christlike.
"The principle of having love one to another and developing our ability to be Christlike in how we think, speak, and act is fundamental in becoming disciples of Christ and teachers of his gospel"
I loved President Uchtdorf's talk last conference on Kindness and Fundamentals...he said,
"Let us be kind. Let us forgive. Let us talk peacefully with each other. Let the love of God fill our hearts. Let us do good unto all men".
Not that I think it's always good to reward with a treat, but today I say,
One thing I’ve learned through lots of trial and error (and even more messes) is that, when you have kids — especially young ones — helping you in the kitchen, prep work is your friend. So before you invite your child to come help you:
Set aside one of your graham cracker sheets. Break the remaining one into quarters. Save one of those quarters. Take two more and cut them in half lengthwise with a very sharp, not serrated knife (follow the dots!). Set aside two of those, then take one and cut it in half widthwise with the same knife. You should have a quarter, two eighths, and a sixteenth:
Use your knife to trim your pretzel sticks to less than a half inch longer on each side than the width of your quartered graham cracker.
Melt about ½ cup (or less, depending on how many of these you plan to make) of chocolate chips with just a touch of oil in a small bowl in the microwave for 1 minute. Stir until it’s smooth. Then spoon it into a piping bag or small Ziploc bag with a corner cut off.
Place some wax paper on a small flat surface (I used the inside of a large, shallow Snap-Lock container). Take the cookies you’ll be using and place them face-down on the wax paper (the solid chocolate side should be facing you). Rotate the tip of your knife in the center circle to scrape out the excess chocolate and widen the hole.
Squeeze some chocolate into the holes of half of the cookies, then place the end of a pretzel stick into the chocolate so that it stands up.
Once you’ve assembled all of them, stick the whole container in the freezer to set up.
Now make your frosting. I whipped a ½ stick of softened butter, then beat in 1 cup powdered sugar, ¼ tsp. clear vanilla, a heaping teaspoon of meringue powder, and just enough half-and-half to make it a spreadable consistency. You can use the premade kind too; just make sure that you mix in meringue powder so that it sets and holds everything together. Scoop the frosting into another piping bag or Ziploc bag with a corner snipped off.
Pull your container of half-axles out of the freezer. Place the rest of your cookies face-down on the paper, then squeeze the chocolate into the holes & very carefully place the other end of your pretzel sticks into the hole to make a whole axle. Put them back in the freezer until you’re ready for them.
Okay. Now you can invite the kids to come help.
Pull out some of your animal crackers. Some face left and some face right. Let your child choose one of each. This way the detail on both cookies can face out when they’re “harnessed” to the wagon. Admittedly, giraffes, camels, and lions aren’t the most historically accurate…
Grab your full graham cracker sheet and two axles. Pipe some frosting to the bottom of each wheel of your axle, then stick it to one end of the sheet. Do the same thing with the other axle, positioning it a little over an inch in front of the first one. Pipe a line of frosting across the top of the pretzel sticks and lay your quarter graham cracker on top.
Create “walls” on the back and sides of your wagon with your eighth and sixteenth graham cracker. Pipe a line of frosting on the bottom of each one, as well as the corners where they meet. Bet you never thought you’d get to use your mad Gingerbread House skills in the middle of July!
Pipe a little frosting on the “feet” of your animal crackers, then stand them up at the front of your graham cracker sheet.
Now take your marshmallows and stick them together end to end with a dot of frosting. Pipe the tops of your “walls” and stick the marshmallows on top.
Put a big glob of frosting on the front of the wagon in front of the marshmallows. Stand the Teddy Graham on top of the glob so he’s “driving.”
You’re almost done! Now just put dots of frosting on the tops of the wagon walls near the Teddy’s hands, and very carefully add a dot of frosting to the outside of each animal. Carefully loop your Twizzlers string around to make reins (you’ll need to trim off about 1.5 inches with your thumbnail) with an end in each one of Teddy’s hands. Ta da!