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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Maybe Christmas Doesn't Come From a Store ~ Elder Jeffrey R. Holland (Ensign Dec. 1977)

Lesson taught by Jeanine M.

Three thousand feet up! Up the side of Mt. Crumpit,
He rode with his load to the tiptop to dump it!
“Pooh-Pooh to the Whos!” he was grinch-ish-ly humming.
“They’re finding out now that no Christmas is coming!
“They’re just waking up! I know just what they’ll do!
“Their mouths will hang open a minute or two
“Then the Whos down in Who-ville will all cry Boo-Hoo!
“That’s a noise, “grinned the Grinch,
“That I simply MUST hear!”So he paused. And the Grinch put his hand to his ear.
And he did hear a sound rising over the snow.
It started in low. Then it started to grow …
But the sound wasn’t sad!
Why, this sound sounded merry!
It couldn’t be so!
But it WAS merry! VERY!
He stared down at Who-ville!
The Grinch popped his eyes!
Then he shook!
What he saw was a shocking surprise!
Every Who down in Who-ville, the tall and the small,
Was singing! Without any presents at all!
He HADN‘T stopped Christmas from coming!
Somehow or other, it came just the same!
And the Grinch, with his grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow,
Stood puzzling and puzzling: “How could it be so?”
“It came without ribbons! It came without tags!
“It came without packages, boxes or bags!”
And he puzzled three hours, till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before!


(Dr. Suess, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, 
 New York: Random House, 1957.)

Part of the purpose for telling the story of Christmas is to remind us that Christmas doesn’t come from a store.

One impression which has persisted with me is that this is a story of intense poverty. I wonder if Luke did not have some special meaning when he wrote not “there was no room in the inn” but specifically that “there was no room for them in the inn.”
We cannot be certain, but it is my guess that money could talk in those days as well as in our own. I think if Joseph and Mary had been people of influence or means, they would have found lodging even at that busy time of year. 

Video: Do You Have Room? 

The wise men did come later bearing gifts, adding some splendor and wealth to this occasion, but it is important to note that they came from a distance, and when they came Jesus was “a young child,” and the family was living in “a house”.
Perhaps this provides an important distinction we should remember in our own holiday season. Maybe the purchasing, making, wrapping and the decorating-- those generous expressions of our love at Christmas—should be separated, from the more quiet, personal moments when we consider the meaning of the Baby (and his birth) who prompts the giving of such gifts.

In some of our lives the manger has already been torn down to allow for discount store specials on gold, frankincense, and myrrh. I do not mean this to sound—like a modern-day Scrooge. The gold, frankincense, and myrrh were humbly given and appreciatively received, and so they should be, every year and always.
But for that very reason, I, like you, need to remember the very plain scene, even the poverty, of a night devoid of tinsel or wrapping or goods of this world. Only when we see that single, sacred, unadorned object of our devotion—the Babe of Bethlehem—will we know why the giving of gifts is so appropriate.

I have recently begun to think more often of Joseph, that strong, silent, almost unknown man who must have been more worthy than any other mortal man to be the guiding foster father of the living Son of God.
It was Joseph selected from among all men who would teach Jesus to work. It was Joseph who taught him the books of the law. It was Joseph who, in the seclusion of the shop, helped him begin to understand who he was and ultimately what he was to become.

Video: Joseph

I’ve thought of Mary, too, this most favored mortal woman in the history of the world. It is hard for me to grasp the feelings a mother has when she knows she has conceived a living soul, feels life quicken and grow within her womb. At such times fathers stand aside and watch, but mothers feel and never forget.
Again, I’ve thought of Luke’s careful phrasing about that holy night in Bethlehem:  “The days were accomplished that she should be delivered. “And she brought forth her firstborn son, and [she] wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and [she] laid him in a manger.”
Those brief pronouns trumpet in our ears that, second only to the child himself, Mary is the chiefest figure, the regal queen, mother of mothers. And those same pronouns also trumpet that, save for her beloved husband, she was very much alone. 

Video: Breath of Heaven 

With only Joseph’s inexperienced assistance, she herself brought forth her firstborn son, wrapped him in the little clothes she had knowingly brought on her journey, and perhaps laid him on a pillow of hay.

But except for heavenly witnesses, these three were alone: Joseph, Mary, the baby to be named Jesus.
Shepherds would soon arrive and later, wise men from the East. Later yet the memory of that night would bring Santa Claus and Frosty and Rudolph—and all would be welcome. But first and forever there was just a little family, without toys or trees or tinsel. With a baby—that’s how Christmas began.
Perhaps recalling the circumstances of his birth, of his own childhood, the ultimate gift of his atonement, we can remember that; 
Maybe Christmas,  doesn’t come from a store.
Maybe Christmas … perhaps … 
means a little bit more!”

Jesus has said many times “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven."
Christmas, then, is for children—of all ages. I suppose that is why my favorite Christmas carol is a child’s song. I sing it with more emotion than any other:

The Only True God and Jesus Christ whom He has Sent

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry Christmas

"Christmas is not a day or a season, 
but a condition of heart and mind.  
If we love our neighbors as ourselves:
if in our riches we are poor in spirit and in our poverty we are rich in grace; 
if our charity vaunteth not itself, 
but suffereth long and is kind; 
if when our brother asks for a loaf, 
we give ourselves instead... 
then every day is Christ's day,
and Christmas is always near."
~James Wallingford~

“It is a desire to sacrifice for others, to render service, and to possess a feeling of universal brotherhood. It consists of a willingness to forget what you have done for others, and to remember only what others have done for you; to ignore what the world owes you, and think only of … your duties in the middle distance, and your chance to do good and aid your fellow-men in the foreground—to see that your fellow-men are just as good as you are, and try to look behind their faces to their hearts—to close your book of grievances against the universe, and look about you for a place to sow a few seeds of happiness and go your way unobserved” [Improvement Era, Dec. 1919, 155].

 It has been said that Christmas is for children; but as the years of childhood fancy pass away and an understanding maturity takes their place, the simple teaching of the Savior that “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35) becomes a reality.

As Christmas Time comes to a close, ponder the true meaning, soak in the feelings of charity and love, consider all you are blessed with and go forward with love for all in the new year to come. 

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Lesson ~ Depression and Mental Health

Taught by Jeanine M.

From the talk:
'Like a Broken Vessel by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland'

In the last conference, in Elder Holland's talk he refers to the scripture in Psalms that compares the feeling of hopelessness to being a broken vessel. (Psalm 32:12)  
In the parable of the cracked pot, we are reminded that even a vessel that is cracked still has a purpose.

Elder Holland declares that; we should feel no more shame in acknowledging a battle with high blood pressure or a tumor than the afflictions of mental illness.

Why is there a stigma?  
Have things improved?  

In our discussion we realized that most of  us were raised in an environment where mental illness existed but was never discussed and was often kept secret.  Even today, hurtful things are said to those suffering from mental illnesses and to their families.  Things need to change and we will start now in our neighborhood.  Even though we should be willing to talk about and treat mental health in the same way we talk about and treat our physical health, we can recognize that mental health issues are much more varied and much less understood.  This just requires us to be more understanding of others and more patient with ourselves.

The Center for Disease control and Prevention reports that 1 in 10 adults will suffer from depression or anxiety and in 2010, suicide was the 2nd leading cause of death in ages 12-17.  1 in every 5 families will be affected  by depression.

This was such a landmark talk because an apostle recognized how widespread depression is.  He names several prominent people as well as himself that suffered from deep depression.  He also acknowledges that it is not always a result of sin or adversity, but it can be part of our mortal existence.  He mentions that everyone experiences discouragement and a certain level of depression.  He wants us to differentiate between this and clinical depression.  He says, "I am speaking of something more serious, of an affliction so severe that it significantly restricts a person's ability to function fully... a dark night of the mind and spirit that is more than mere discouragement."

He poses the question, "How do we respond when we or someone we love is confronted with challenges?" First and foremost if the depression or anxiety is debilitating, seek the advice of trained professionals.  Elder Holland says, "Be honest with them, prayerfully and responsibly consider the counsel they give and the solutions they prescribe.  Our Heavenly Father expects us to use all of the marvelous gifts he has provided in this glorious dispensation."  

He gives more suggestions that I divided into three categories.  

This is what he says about each of them:

Have Faith:  Never harden your heart, seek counsel, ask for priesthood blessings, faithfully pursue the time-tested devotional practices that bring the spirit into your life, never lose faith in a Father in Heaven that loves you more than you can comprehend.

Have Hope:  Hope is never lost, take the sacrament and hold fast to the promises of the atonement, believe in miracles, trust in the fallen world we chose to come to, if the bitter cup does not pass; drink it and be strong, trusting in better days ahead.

Have Charity:  We should show compassion to each other, be nonjudgmental, merciful and kind.

He counsels us to watch for stress indicators and try to prevent illnesses when we can.  Be on the lookout for fatigue and take time to 'replenish and refill.'  

Neal A. Maxwell advised us to learn to;
"discern between divine discontent 
and the devil's dissonance." 

Tina S. shared with us about a day when she was really down, everything just seamed like it was so hard. She just laid her head down on the counter and cried. Then recognizing those feelings come from Satan, she decided she wasn't going to let him 'win'!  She stood up and announced out loud to Satan, "I'm going to clean my toilets, you can't do that, you don't have a body"!!  When she was done she felt better knowing she had won the battle that day! 

We want to change things by starting in our own ward and neighborhood, having more charity and choosing not to judge and by opening up one to another. One sister shared a remarkable story of a family whose schizophrenic brother killed his sister and her friend.  They have shown charity toward him by helping him get the help he needs and still treating him as a member of their family.

In the same Psalm that references a broken vessel, David declares, "In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed; deliver me in the righteousness."

It really is through believing in Christ's Atonement that we can be healed from the mental illnesses that plague us.  May we seek professional help, have faith, hope and give encouragement to those who suffer by being charitable, kind and loving. 
See: Moroni 7:42-48

Elder Holland says, Though we may feel we are "like a broken vessel," as the Psalmist says, we must remember, that vessel is in the hands of the divine potter.  Broken minds can be healed just the way broken bones and broken hearts are healed.  While God is at work making those repairs, the rest of us can help by being merciful, nonjudgmental, and kind. 

Know that if you suffer from anxiety or depression you are NOT ALONE!  
All of us if not struggling from it ourselves, have someone we know that struggles with it.  Do not be afraid to talk about with each other.  

Let us put our arms around each other in compassion and love, lifting and supporting one another as Sisters of our Divine Heavenly Father.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

December Calender

Up and coming this Month:

The Relief Society Christmas Social
Thursday Dec 19th 
Held at Linda Archibeque's house

Be looking around your house for your best 
'Don't wanter item'
Wrap it up pretty and bring it for our annual 
'White Elephant'  
gift exchange!

We have soooo much fun with this every, 
year you don't want to miss out!

*Remember this is suppose to be something from home 
that you don't want anymore. 
The funnier the better!

Invite your neighbors and the ladies you visit teach.

Click on the link to see some of the fun from 2012



We also have the angel tree for those who would like to purchase gifts or donate money for a family in need.  
It will be at the Church on Sundays 
or you can contact Becky Shapiro for info.


Just a note for those with Youth:

If anyone has youth that would like to give service and don't know quite where to look for a place to do so, there is a new resource available through Youthlinc.
It is a Local Utah Service Directory with options listed for those interested in volunteering with kids, helping the elderly, serving in health-care, environmental service etc.. This is a great new tool

Click on this link if you are interested



*Book of Mormon class Tuesday's 7:30pm
@ Sue Green's
*No class on the 24th or 31st

*Pinterest Group Thursday, December 12th
9-11am ~ Kim E. Host for the month
Contact Sydney @801-597-0431 for info


May the love of Christ emanate your 
hearts and homes
and may that love spread to all those you come in contact with this Holliday.



Monday, November 25, 2013

Pinterest Group ~ September & October

For the month of September

We made these cute little Turkeys 
and this Burlap Banner.
Some of them said,
 "Grateful and some said, Give Thanks"

Perfect to put out for any time of the year!

Thanks to Trisha T. for hosting!!


In October 

We made these fun felt Hombre Trees


These are going to be great not only for Christmas decorating but for boring old January too.
Might as well have something fun for 
January don't you think!

Thanks to Kerri H. for hosting!

If you want to join we meet on the 
2nd Thursday of the Month.
Contact Sydney @ 801-597-0431 for info

Even if you don't want to make the months project you can come just to get some girl visiting time in!!! 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Helaman chapter 12 ... continued (#2)

Taught by Sue G.
(click on the scripture reference to read it)

Elder David Bednar expounded on the power of 
God's Grace
(click to read full talk)

"In the Bible Dictionary we learn that the word grace frequently is used in the scriptures to connote enabling power: The main idea of the word is, divine means of help or strength, given through the bounteous mercy and love of Jesus Christ.

It is likewise through the grace of the Lord 
that individuals, through faith in the atonement 
of Jesus Christ and repentance of their sins, 
receive strength and assistance  to do good 
works that they otherwise would not be able 
to maintain if left to their own means.
This grace is an enabling power that allows men 
and women to have eternal life and exaltation 
after they have expended their own best.
Elder Gene R. Cook discussed the personal nature of the Saviors Grace.  "The grace of the Lord through the Atonement can both cleanse us of sin and assist in performing ourselves through out trials, sicknesses and even character defects... Christ can repair our flaws and failing that otherwise are not reparable.

That great truth ought to 
fill us with hope!

David Bednar said, "Grace is the divine assistance or heavenly help each of us desperately needs to qualify for the celestial kingdom. Thus, the enabling power of the Atonement strengthens us to do and be good and to serve beyond our own individual desire and 
natural capacity." 
"I declare my witness of and appreciation for the infinite and eternal sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. I know the Savior lives. I have experienced both His redeeming power and His enabling power, and I testify that these powers are real and available to each of us. Indeed, "in the strength of the Lord" we can do and overcome all things as we press forward on our journey of mortality."

is given to us all without any effort on our part.

requires us to act to use it.

  • How are you partaking of the enabling power of the atonement in your life?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Helaman chapter 12 ... continued (#1)

Taught by Sue G.
(*click on a scripture reference to read it)

As soon as we talk about prosperity we immediately think of "The Cycle of Apostasy".  We keep hoping that a group of people will come along who don't go throughout this cycle of prosperity, pride and destruction.  Unfortunately, this group will. 

The points of doctrine in verse 22 of the true gospel set the true Church apart from all other religions.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the church which answers questions. 

In the early days of the restoration through the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord told the Saints that he would restore the true points of my doctrine, Doctrine and Covenants 10:62which had been lost to the world with the loss of many plain and precious things.

1 Nephi 13:29 - Satan does his best to make religion vague, indefinite, mysterious and distant, but the Lord wants his people to have much by way of facts and doctrinal details upon which to base wise and informed decisions.

Faith leads to obedience, obedience leads to additional revelation and knowledge of doctrine.  Moses 5:5-11 - Knowledge of true doctrine leads to perspective and purpose.  Perspective and purpose lead to humility spiritual strength and reliance upon God.  Consistent reliance upon God leads to exaltation.

There is great power in these points of doctrine this wonderful Gospel doctrine. D&C 131:6 - In fact, the Lord said   in this context "ignorance" refers to gospel knowledge. As members of the Lords true Church, we are blessed with a great number of points of doctrine of the plan of Salvation, which doctrines stretch all the from way our pre-mortal life with our Heavenly Parents, to the opportunity for exaltation in the highest degrees of glory in the celestial kingdom.  Thus, we have a finely turned sense of purpose of every stage of progression along the way.

Repentance leads us to Christ's Church.