Monthly Archives: June 2014

True Stewards

All Nature Shows God's Love For Us

All Nature Shows God’s Love For Us

A few words from a Vanessa Williams song, “Color of the Wind”:

You think you own whatever land you land on, The earth is just a dead thing you can claim, But I know every rock and tree and creature, Has a life, has a spirit, has a name

You think the only people who are people,e Are the people who look and think like you, But if you walk the footsteps of a stranger, You’ll learn things you never knew, you never knew

You will likely agree, that we are to be true stewards of the earth and are charged with its preservation.  Also we need to esteem our fellowmen, from whatever country they call home.  This is easily done when we remember that all people are our brothers and sisters since we all originated from Heavenly Father. These things give me Reasons to Rejoice.

Motivation

Yay! A trip to Disneyland!

Yay! A trip to Disneyland!

Years ago, one of my students rushed into the classroom bubbling over with news about his parents’ reward for good grades at the end of the term—a trip to Disneyland! This dangling reward gave him motivation to get all assignments turned in for a week, but by the second week he had slipped back into former lazy habits. I have a similar problem with spiritual goals. First of all, the goal needs to be genuinely mine and not someone else’s. I have to want it passionately. And it has to be reinforced frequently to keep me focused through life’s distractions and temptations. My ultimate, long-term goal is to acquire the attributes of Christ. But with that ambitious goal, a one-time spiritual surge or epiphany isn’t enough to keep me going day after day. I need daily, hourly, even minute-by-minute encouragement to keep on track. That is why the Lord blesses us at baptism with the Gift of the Holy Ghost as a constant companion—to prompt, redirect, and encourage. Another significant help is partaking of the sacrament each week to refresh the promises I made at baptism and the Lord’s promises to me in return. I need that weekly renewal. When I wake each morning, I talk to God in prayer asking for His help and guidance. At night I report my day to Him and listen for redirection. With God’s help I can enjoy little victories along the way toward my long-term goal. “With God all things are possible” (Mark 10: 27). What a great REASON TO REJOICE!

  • What keeps you motivated toward your prime goal in life?

NATURE’S TREAT

Nature Beckons

Nature Beckons

In a short walk from our home, we enter National Forest Service lands which are reserved for public use.  These lands are preserved for their majesty and splendor for which I am appreciative.  A slightly challenging hike up Dry Creek Wilderness area trail places you at the base of Horsetail Falls, to a breath-taking view.  I am reminded of the hymn, “When through the woods and forest glades I wander, and hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees; when I look down from lofty mountain grandeur, and hear the brook, and feel the gentle breeze;Then sings my soul, my Savior God; to thee, How great thou art, how great thou art!”  I will forever be grateful to the Lord for creating this earth upon which we spend our mortal existence. This gives me Reasons to Rejoice.  I can only imagine the magnificence of our next existence after passing from this life.

  • Do you find the handiwork of the Lord to be magnificent, just as I do?

    A beautiful reward for a steep hike - Horsetail Falls

    A beautiful reward for a steep hike – Horsetail Falls

A Pinewood Derby Lesson

Great Expectations!

Great Expectations!

It was a tension-packed night in the gym for our son’s first cub-scout pinewood derby. He had worked hard on his little car and carried it delicately as if made of glass. His was the first race, so he carefully placed his car at the top of the homemade track (obviously a long time ago) next to the competition. His heart was pounding with unconcealed hope for victory. The cars roared down together for a while but the other one zoomed ahead at the finish line. Our son’s face fell as he picked up his car and walked slowly away with downcast eyes. He thought the race was over. He might as well go home. Suddenly his scout leader shouted above the din, “Hey, you’re not finished! You get lots more tries!” Our son had mistakenly thought there was only one race, one chance to win. What inexpressible joy and relief transformed his freckled face! Yay—lots more tries! I connect this little experience to my inexpressible joy in the Savior’s infinite, atoning gift. If not for this gift—one mistake and my race would be over, and I’d be separated eternally from God. But gratefully, I get lots of tries! Christ asks that I repent and never give up trying to become like Him. Together in covenant, Christ’s perfection covers my imperfection. Is there a more beautiful promise than this? “If ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ” (Moroni 10:32). This is the greatest of all REASONS TO REJOICE!

What A Marvelous and Beautiful Earth

Earth's Beauty is Beyond Desciption

Earth’s Beauty is Beyond Desciption

In the next few blog posts I will focus upon the wonders of this beautiful world which was created by our loving Heavenly Father.  The longer I live on the earth, the more I appreciate the finest craftsmanship that was used during its creation.  The words of John Ritter’s hymn capture the essence of my present feelings of thankfulness for our marvelous earth:

“For the beauty of the earth,

For the beauty of the skies,

For the love which from our birth,

Over and around us lies,

Lord of all, to thee we raise;

This our hymn of grateful praise.”

Just stop for a moment and look out your window at God’s great creation, whether it is tree, plant, flower, countryside, or our fellowmen. “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor” (Psalms 8:3-5).  Knowing we are spiritual offspring of our God crowned with glory gives me Reasons to Rejoice.

Sweet Moments in Ordinary Days

Overnight on the trampoline

Overnight on the trampoline

On a clear spring evening, Alan and I decided to spend the night on the trampoline in our back yard. We arranged foam pads under sleeping bags, and fluffed pillows to cradle our heads. After getting all situated, we snuggled together holding hands, looking up at the Big Dipper. We talked quietly of our love and began to enumerate bounteous blessings, though it seemed like trying to count stars in the heavens. We listened to crickets and water raging down our creek. The air was fragrant with lilacs mingled with fresh-cut grass and new foliage on overhanging trees. Though our cheeks were frosty, we felt warm under blankets. Our hearts were full like the silver moon creeping slowly over our heads. We decided to frequently create and celebrate sweet moments in ordinary days. After offering a prayer of gratitude, we sighed with contentment and drifted off to sleep—the sleep of babes. We don’t need to fly to a remote island or spend big bucks on a vacation to experience rest, peace, and beauty. We can find it everywhere, even in our own back yard—if we cherish the sweet moments God has already given us. One more REASON to REJOICE.

Alan’s 10-Keys to Happy Living

"There are souls in this world which have the gift of finding joy everywhere and of leaving it behind them when they go.” ― Frederick W. Faber

“There are souls in this world which have the gift of finding joy everywhere and of leaving it behind them when they go.”
― Frederick W. Faber

MY KEYS TO HAPPINESS

  1. Understand and define who you are and illuminate your relationship with the Lord.
  2. Be grateful for each day of your life and reflect upon the blessings given you.
  3. Find someone to selflessly serve each day.
  4. Establish goals that promote self-improvement and growth.
  5. Value your family and heritage – remember the sacrifices made by your ancestors.
  6. Keep the commandments and renew covenants weekly.
  7. Value work and express thanksgiving for your health daily.
  8. Find nuggets in the scriptures that apply to your life.
  9. Live with commitment to be worthy.
  10. Report your activities (both successes and failures) to the Lord at the close of each day.