September 11, 2018

Humility


A talk I gave in August of this year that I put a lot of my heart into and want to share--

         I have been asked to speak today on humility. Perhaps the first understanding of this word that comes to mind is a lack of boasting of one’s achievements, possessions, or abilities. This, of course, being a big part of the kind of humility we can seek to develop—but I want to focus on the humility that requires us to have a contrite heart and be meek, submissive, and teachable in the sight of God. What are the stumbling blocks of pride we often face that keep us from receiving further light and knowledge from a Father in heaven?
         President Spencer W Kimball said, “[Evaluate] yourself. What am I? I am the circle. I am the hole in the doughnut. I would be nothing without the Lord. My breath, my brains, my hearing, my sight, my locomotion, my everything depends upon the Lord. That is the first step and then we pray, and pray often, and we will not get up from our knees until we have communicated. If it takes all day long, you stay on your knees until your unhumbleness has dissipated, until you feel the humble spirit and realize, “I could die this minute if it were not for the Lord’s good grace. I am dependent upon him—totally dependent upon him.”
         We hear often in the scriptures and from prophets to become as little children unto the Lord: “Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Imagine a child—maybe your own. Imagine all that they depend on you for, physically and mentally. They need you to provide food and water, shelter and protection. They start out not even able to hold their own head up. They need you to teach them everything! They need your love and guidance, sometimes in the seemingly simplest matters. There is no greater example of humility than that of a child. Now can we reflect on this relationship between earthly parent and child and ask ourselves if we are converted to and dependent on our Savior in this same way? We know from modern revelation that, through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, children under the age of eight are not accountable for their sins. They are completely covered by His sacrifice alone. Do we seek to be covered by Christ’s Atonement as completely as we were as children? I sincerely advise you, brothers and sisters, to lean on your Savior as your children lean on you. See how He will not just walk next to you in this life, but has the power to carry you every step of the way.
         One way in which pride can manifest itself in us is through fear. Earlier this year I stumbled upon this short clip of a young Christian girl talking about fear. She said, “God has already considered all our excuses, thoughts, feelings, and doubts and He still says DO NOT FEAR.” Fear can be an expression of our lack of trust for the plan God has for us—a pride in our hearts that we know better. My mother earlier this year said to me, “God is never afraid. He is never panicked or rushed.” How comforting it is to know that nothing will shake our God; but how do we do this? I feel like I am afraid of everything. Often no matter how much faith and trust I try to muster, I still fear. Elder David A Bednar taught, “To not take counsel from our fears simply means that we do not permit fear and uncertainty to determine our course in life. To not take counsel from our fears means that faith in the Lord Jesus Christ overrules our fears and that we press forward with a steadfastness in Him." I think fear is a natural part of existing on this earth and there may never be a day we do not fear something. But we can seek guidance from the spirit and refuse to let our fears dictate our actions. We can move forward with faith, maybe shaking to our very core, but we still move by the strength of Jesus Christ.
         True humility, we know, is a willingness to submit to the will of God, just as Jesus did: “nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” Have you humbled yourself enough to truly believe that God has everything under control?—that His plan for you is more brilliant than anything you could come up with?
         A few years ago I had this one particular scripture stuck in my head for weeks. It was 2 Nephi 2:25 “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.” Now at the time this was stuck in my head, I was feeling anything but joy. I was really struggling with my mental health. It was one of the more challenging years of my marriage. That year felt like one blow to the head after another. I just kept thinking to myself, where is this joy?—because I am not feeling it. About a year later, I was asked to read a quote in relief society from Elder Richard G Scott that brought everything from the previous few years into perspective. The little piece of paper that I still have in my journal read, “Your Father in Heaven and His Holy Son know better than you what brings happiness.” I want to read that one more time: "Your Father in Heaven and His Holy Son know better than you what brings happiness." My lack of humility had caused me to believe that God had gotten it wrong. I believed I knew better than Him what joy looked like and how to get there. And how happy I am that I was wrong! The plan that my Father has for me, all the tests, trials, pain, and heartache, has shaped and molded me into more than I could ever have become on my own. It has shaped and molded my marriage beyond anything we could have created just the two of us. It has made the sweet so much sweeter. It has taught me patience and empathy for others.
         Elder Neal A Maxwell wrote, “Spiritual submissiveness brings about the wiser use of our time, talents, and gifts as compared with our laboring diligently but conditionally to establish our own righteousness instead of the Lord’s. After all, Lucifer was willing to work very hard, but conditionally in his own way and for his own purposes.” How many of us believe that if we do everything right it means we shouldn’t ever suffer? That if we do everything He tells us in this life, bad things shouldn’t happen to us? I was visiting an institute class with my sister a few months ago and we were talking about when Christ tells his apostles all that will happen to Him in the last days of His life: Matthew 16: 21 “From that time forth began Jesus to show unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders, and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.” After Christ tells them of all the suffering and pain He will experience, sweet Peter tried to tell the Lord that there was no way this could be. This will not happen to you. Many of you may know how the Savior responds; in verse 23 “But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” I wrote in my notes that day, taking away the difficult, ugly, trying things we are meant to go through that will help us become is not the work of God: “Get thee behind me, Satan.” They are meant to change us, to refine us, to return to live with God worthily. I can only imagine the Savior pleading with His disciples to understand: This is what all of it is for. This is why I am here—why you are here. God’s plan is the only way.
         My mother once shared with me an experience she had years ago. A mother of seven, she was pondering the heavy trials of one in particular, my brother. He had had a tough few years and she wanted to pray and ask God why—and just as she thought that, she heard Eve saying, “Is there no other way?” In her own words she says, “Just as clearly in my mind I heard, ‘No. There is no other way. I promise you. If there had been any other way for you to learn what is needed to be learned in this life, I would have let you have an easier way.” When we try to take away the trials of our loved ones, we are refusing to submit to the will of the Lord: “Get thee behind me, Satan.” Brothers and sisters, you have a perfect Savior who died for you. His blood covers you completely. You cannot save yourself. You cannot save your spouse. You cannot save your children. Only Jesus Christ alone can do that. Shielding ourselves from the refining process this life is meant for keeps us from all the light and glory God has to offer us. Please don't try and stop Him from working His miracles on you. “Your Father in Heaven and His Holy Son know better than you what brings happiness.”
         Can we humble ourselves before the Lord and truly believe His plan is perfect? That He has thought of everything? Elder Uchtdorf said, “We must approach our Eternal Father with broken hearts and teachable minds. We must be willing to learn and to change. And, oh, how much we gain by committing to live the life our Heavenly Father intends for us. Those who want to improve and progress, those who learn of the Savior and desire to be like Him, those who humble themselves as a little child and seek to bring their thoughts and actions into harmony with our Father in Heaven--they will experience the miracle of the Savior’s Atonement. They will surely feel God’s resplendent Spirit. They will taste the indescribable joy that is the fruit of a meek and humble heart. They will be blessed with the desire and discipline to become true disciples of Jesus Christ.” What beautiful promises we are given in that statement if we simply commit to living the life our Heavenly Father intends for us.
         So, how do we practice these things? How do we submit to the will of the Lord? Sister Marriott, former second counselor in the Young Women’s presidency spoke so perfectly on this subject last October. This quote is rather long but the principles are so wonderful, I didn’t want to cut it short. She said, “It is now, with our mortal limitations, that the Father asks us to love when loving is most difficult, to serve when serving is inconvenient, to forgive when forgiving is soul stretching. How? How will we do it? We earnestly reach for Heavenly Father’s help, in the name of His Son, and do things His way instead of pridefully asserting our own will."
         "I recognized my pride when President Ezra Taft Benson spoke on cleansing the inner vessel. I imagined myself as a pitcher. How was I to get the residue of pride out of my pitcher? Independently forcing ourselves to have humility and trying to make ourselves love others is insincere and hollow, and it simply doesn’t work. Our sins and pride create a breach--or a gap--between us and the font of all love, our Heavenly Father. Only the Savior’s Atonement can cleanse us of our sins and close that gap or breach."
         "We want to be encircled in the arms of our Heavenly Father’s love and guidance, and so we put His will first and with a broken heart plead that Christ will pour streams of cleansing water into our pitcher. At first it may come drop by drop, but as we seek, ask, and obey, it will come abundantly. This living water will begin to fill us, and brimming with His love, we can tip the pitcher of our soul and share its contents with others who thirst for healing, hope, and belonging."
         "Sacrifice of our personal agendas is required to make room for the eternal plans of God. The Savior, who speaks for the Father, pleads with us, 'Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you.'"
         This is where we come back to becoming as little children. We must lean on the Atonement with our whole soul. Asking the Father in the name of Jesus Christ for the strength and understanding to do all that He requires of us. I find it only a tad ironic and ever more humbling to know that I need my Savior even to teach me humility. Because without guidance, I may start to believe the air in my lungs is a product of my own doing. His Atonement helps me to repent and forgive, to love more fully, to minister correctly, and to faithfully follow the plan He has for me. The only reason I have an opportunity every day to be better than the day before is because of Him.
         Brothers and sisters, I have experienced real healing and change from Jesus Christ. His hand in my life is something I cannot deny. The power of His Atonement is so far beyond what our finite minds can comprehend. I will spend my life trying to know Him better and fill my soul with His light. If you do not feel you know Him, pray to know. Read about His life. Listen to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. Put His Atonement to the test: ask for forgiveness, ask for healing, ask for light.
         I know that if we submit our will to the will of the Lord, the happiness we find, whether now or later, will be infinitely better than anything we could muster on our own. His plan for you is perfect. My hope is that we practice recognizing and immediately expressing gratitude for the hand of the Lord in our own life, in the lives of others, in our community, country and world. I was watching something recently with a sound bite of someone saying, “Thank God for what is happening right now—it might not be good, but thank God.”
         Anything I have I owe to my Father in Heaven and His Son. I know these things to be true and I leave them with you in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

July 12, 2018

The Ultimate Friends Trivia by me

I have never met a Friends trivia worth my expertise, so I decided to make my own. The only real bummer is that I will never be able to take it myself seeing as how I already know all the answers now. To play, I suggest you write your answers honestly on a piece of paper. No google. A link to the answers is at the bottom of this post. No peeking if you want to take this serious. I give you Friends Trivia by yours truly.


SEASON 1

1. In the pilot, Barry’s last name is different than the one used in the rest of the series. What is it?

2. What are the original apartment numbers (Chandler's and Monica's)?

3. What object did Rachel say she realized she was more attracted to than Barry?

4. Where was Rachel supposed to go on her honeymoon with Barry?

5. What is Carol’s partner’s full name?

6. Where did Ross think their family dog had been taken when his parents had actually put him to sleep?

7. What was the name of Monica and Ross’s family dog?

8. Chandler started smoking again in season 1, how long had it been since he last smoked?

9. What is the task that Rachel said if she could figure out, she could do anything?

10. What did Phoebe say she’d do if she were omnipotent for a day?

11. What is the name and profession of the woman that Joey Tribbiani Sr was having an affair with? 

12. What gift did the bank give phoebe after they mistakenly credited $500 to her account?

13. What is Carol’s profession?

14. What is Barry’s profession?

15. What is Joey’s name on the poster for VD?

16. What ski town was Rachel supposed to go for Thanksgiving in season 1?

17. How did Ross want his potatoes at Thanksgiving in season 1

18. What were the other two kinds of potatoes made that year?

19. What is the name of the restaurant that Ursula works at?

20. What scrabble tiles did Marcel get stuck in his throat?

21. In the last game of poker the friends play, what is Rachel’s final hand?

22. Name at least one thing that the woman that stole Monica’s credit card purchases with her card 

23. What stage name did Phoebe suggest to Joey?

24. What zoo did Marcel get sent to live in?

25. Where did Ross get the name Ben?

26. Besides Ross’s gift, what presents do we see Rachel open at her birthday party in season 1? 



SEASON 2

1. Who did Monica want her hair cut like?

2. Who did Phoebe mistake for who Monica wanted her hair cut like?

3. What is Ross allergic to?

4. What is Richard’s ex wife’s name?

5. Joey is competing with the hombre man spritzing cologne at the mall, what is the name of the cologne he sprays?

6. What is the name of the hombre man?

7. What instrument did Mr. Heckles play in high school band?

8. What is Mr. Heckles first name?

9. Who was Julie’s second grade teacher?

10. The woman on the phone that thinks Chandler is Bob mentions that her legs are on a movie poster, what movie is it?

11. When Joey and Chandler bought everyone’s Christmas gifts at the gas station, what did they get Rachel?

12. What is Russ’s job?

13. What is the name of the movie Marcel is in?

14. What did Joey engrave on the bracelet he had made for Chandler?

15. Joey pays Monica to eat a jar of olives. How much did he owe her?

16. What was Monica’s prom date’s name?

17. Monica's prom date was in the paper for seeing Star Wars how many times?

18. When Ross and Rachel are on the date in the planetarium, he has two flavors of juice box, what are they?

19. When Ross and Monica are fighting over what to watch on TV, what are the different shows they want?

20. List at least two of the words that Joey uses from the word of the day toilet paper.

21. After Joey loses his job on Days of Our Lives, Estelle gets him an audition with a different show. Name the show and role.

22. What is Ben’s first word?

23. When Joey gets a job at Chandler’s office, what are the names of his family that he makes up? 



SEASON 3

1. What songs did each Ross, Rachel, and Phoebe say were the most romantic songs ever?

2. What is the milk carton product called that Joey is in a commercial for?

3. Janice and Chandler were out to dinner and she did something that made him freak out about their relationship. What was it?

4. Who was on Chandler’s freebie list? Name at least three.

5. Who was Rachel’s freebie list? Name at least three.

6. Who was on Ross’s final freebie list? Name at least three.

7. Joey tries to sabotage one of his acting students chances of getting a part that he wants. What was the role and what show was it for?

8. Who were the people that died when Phoebe went to the dentist?

9. Chandler rips Joey’s favorite jersey during the Thanksgiving football game. What is the number on the jersey?

10. How many years of games are displayed on the Geller cup? Bonus if you can name the time span

11. What is the name of the little girl whose leg Ross accidentally breaks?

12. What were the Christmas cookies Monica was addicted to?

13. What is the original number of boxes of Christmas cookies Ross sells?

14. Rachel serves Chandler her last cup of coffee working at Central Perk. What did Chandler actually order?

15. What is the name of Phoebe’s ex singing partner?

16. Where is the first job Rachel gets after the coffee shop?

17. Which leg of Ginger’s is artificial?

18. What is the real name of the hot girl from the copy place?

19. When Ross was coming back from helping the friends with their car, the car he was driving broke down. What was wrong with it?

20. When Joey is doing a magic card trick with Rachel, Ross, and Monica, what is the final card/their card?

21. What was the software that Pete Becker invented called?

22. Who was the relative Monica inherited the doll house from?

23. What was Ross supposed to be on the discovery channel for?

24. What is the name of the play Joey is in with Kate Miller?



SEASON 4:

1. After Joey and Chandler get robbed, Joey thinks the thief took a card from their deck of cards. What card was it?

2. What is the real name of the cat that Phoebe thinks is her mom?

3. Who was the doctor Monica said her mother had promised to never use the phrase “pulled a Monica”?

4. What letter encyclopedia book did Joey buy from the door to door salesman?

5. What was the dance event Joey was helping Treager train for?

6. When Joey told Treager that Chick and Duck were nicknames for Chandler and him, who was Chick and who was Duck?

7. When the Friends decided to do Secret Santa, who did Ross draw?

8. Besides the fossil from the museum, what were the two sentimental things Rachel kept in the shoe box from her relationship with Ross?

9. In what newspaper does Monica write restaurant reviews?

10. How did Rachel’s boss Joanna die?

11. What is the restaurant Monica becomes the head chef of?

12. Joey and Chandler bet they can guess all the items in Rachel’s grocery bag. Name three of the items in her bag.

13. There are four categories in the trivia game Ross makes for Monica, Rachel, Chandler and Joey. What are the categories?

14. Where was Rachel supposed to take Emily but bailed and asked Ross to take her?

15. Joey is in a movie with Charleston Heston, what is the character he plays in the movie?

16. Where did Ross and Emily end up on their first date?

17. What did Monica say she had to do to get the electrical plans of the building?

18. What are the names of Frank and Alice’s triplets?

19. When Monica and Rachel are trying to win their apartment back, they all draw cards to see who wins. What were the two sets of cards they each draw?

20. What is the name of the building Ross and Emily are married in?

21. Emily’s parents try to get Ross’s parents to pay for a bunch of home remodeling in their bill for the wedding. Name two of the remodels listed on their bill?



SEASON 5:

1. Where were Ross and Emily supposed to go on their honeymoon?

2. What is the name of the hot bridesmaid Joey hooks up with in London?

3. What was the beer the friends loved from London?

4. To get her to talk to him, Ross sent Emily the same number of roses as days that he had known her. How many roses did he send?

5. The doctor that delivers the triplets is obsessed with a character from what show?

6. What did PBS send Phoebe in response to the letter she wrote them as a kid?

7. What was the fake trip Monica made up when she was actually going away for the weekend with Chandler?

8. What is Rachel’s childhood dog’s name?

9. Joey hid a box under Monica’s bed with provisions in case they all got stuck in there again. Name two of the things in the box?

10. Who did Monica and Chandler see waiting for an elevator on their weekend away?

11. Where did Rachel say she had to be during Danny’s housewarming party?

12. When Ross and Carol were in college, what sports did Carol play?

13. In the thanksgiving flashback, what are Chandler and Ross’s names on their fake IDs?

14. Monica accidentally cuts off the end of Chandler’s toe in the thanksgiving flashback, what foot was the toe on?

15. What are the books Phoebe reads for her lit class?

16. What does Ross call Monica’s leftover thanksgiving dinner sandwich?

17. Next to what store did Phoebe collect donations with a bell and bucket for the holidays?

18. What game did Chandler and Joey make up when Joey was supposed to be writing his script?

19. What are all the Friends New Years resolutions this season?

20. Name three of the chord names Phoebe made up when she taught herself guitar.

21. What is the name of Phoebe’s grandmother that passed away in this season?

22. What is the name of the handyman Ross didn’t want to pay $100 and how many years had he been working in the building?

23. When Joey is breaking up with his girlfriend that hits him a lot, he wears several layers of sweaters for protection. How many sweaters is he wearing?

24. Joey was trying to find a hot girl across the street in Ross’s building. What floor did he think she was on? What floor was she actually on?

25. When the guys go on a ride along with Gary, what does Ross think the attachable car light is called? What is it really called?

26. How much did Rachel spend on her cat and what did she name it?

27. When Joey is deciding whether to take the northern or southern route to Las Vegas, Phoebe tells him two interesting things he can see on either route. What were they?

28. What is the name of the movie Joey was going to shoot in Nevada?

29. When Joey is in Vegas he calls to have someone find his atm PIN number. What is the PIN number?

30. In Vegas, what was Monica supposed to roll for her and Chandler to get married that night?


April 25, 2018

Big Sister

https://www.bigsistermag.com/

March 8, 2018

Sister

Bri, Emma and Marin