Fears

Fears, what are they? How do we know them for what they are? How do we make them go away?
These are very interesting questions. I have spent a number of years learning about this particular
subject. And I feel it is time to share what I have learned.
When children are born, they have no fear. They are full of trust and love. So, how did this change? Well,
Fear is taught to children by the people that they trust the most. They are taught that there are consequences to their actions. This introduces them to fear. When they cry, they may be spanked, therefore, they are taught not to cry so that they are not spanked. Simple concepts such as these are taken with them throughout their lives and will be applied to each choice that they make. Sometimes, fear comes from someone else such as their parent, and they do not understand why they are afraid of the particular situation. They are just taught that they are to be afraid of certain situations.
Fear of animals, fear of the dark, fear of people, fear of places. These all have something in common.
They have been taught to us. So, how do we realize the fear in the first place?  We listen to our hearts. We identify the fact that we are uncomfortable in a particular situation and then ask why? Why am I uncomfortable? Why am I afraid? Is there a deeper reason to my fear? After we ask these questions, we are to keep digging until the true feeling comes out. It is usually a simple reason. Look at it. Know it for the untruth that it really is, then let it go. Fill the hole that you just created with something positive that will stand in it’s place. Normally, it is something that has to do with loving yourself.
This is very hard especially at first, but give it some time. Do it over and over, and each situation will become easier to deal with. Know that you are not alone. That Heavenly Father and the Savior are there
right beside you while you are working on this. This is the comfort that is necessary to your healing.  As you let go of each fear, you will find that you will be happier, you will have more energy to do the things that you want through the day, that your relationships with those around you become better and deeper.
There are many scriptures that are all about this feeling. Many of them are used to “Fear the Lord thy
God”, but these are not the ones that I am referring to. Instead, I am referring to the ones that state:
“Fear not”. For this is what we need to do. Fear not.  In Genesis 15:1, it states: Fear not, abram: I am thy
shield, and thy exceeding great reward. This means that if we let go of our fears, let Heavenly Father
and the Savior take over, they will be our shield from the bad things that are in our lives and there will be a great reward if we trust.  Is not peace a great reward? How about Genesis 26:24? Fear not, for I am with thee, and will bless thee… So, if we have no fear, then we have Heavenly Father, the Savior and the Holy Ghost at our sides. Is this not a wonderful blessing to have?  Deuteronomy 1:21 “As the Lord God of thy fathers hath said unto thee; fear not, neither be discouraged.” I do believe that this is very true. When we are fearful, we are discouraged from attaining our goals. When was the last time that you said, “I can’t”? Is this not the best way to keep from doing what we have promised that we would do? Does this not encourage our feelings of discouragement?
There are many examples of these scriptures available. They are there to help strengthen us. They are to
encourage us, to help us. I promise that if you do these things, which are to find your fear, address it,
let it go and then fill it with something positive, you will have more strength, more happiness and more
ability to do the things that you really desire to do.

Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

Missionary work-Be an example

Missionary Work- Not just for missionaries anymore…
Ok, I am sure that you have heard this many times. You have heard all of the talks, you have read many of Wilford Woodruff’s words concerning this issue. I am also sure that when you saw the title, you tried to go on to something else, but then you came back to see if there was anything different that is being said.

Well, yes, I am going to say it. You are a missionary.
For those of us who have been born in the church, we have been missionaries from that particular time. We have been watched from birth and have been examples from that point on. We have been missionaries when we make friends. We are missionaries at any and all points of our lives. Especially when something changes in our lives.
Others are watching to see who we are. If we live our religion, we are missionaries, mostly by example. What about when we were small children and did not understand the value of money in this world? Then we may have taken something and our parents made us give it back. We are examples at that time. How we react is being studied by others around us. Not in a “Stalking” manner, but more as curiosity and learning.  When we meet someone and become their friend, we are showing them what we believe. So, what are our choices at this time? Do we show that we like our religion and act upon it, or do we complain and do not take anything seriously?
How about the new job, how many people are watching us at this time in our lives? We spend many hours with these people each day, how are we acting? Are we swearing? Are we doing the things of this world? Are we trying to make others more comfortable around us? Are we doing positive things to improve ourselves and others?
There are other places that we are known, such as the grocery store, the post office, the court house, the schools, the hospitals, etc. How are we acting when we are in each location?
Have you ever had anyone come up to you and ask how you do this?
I have.
I was in the midst of an ugly divorce. I should have been completely falling apart. I should be crying all
of the time. But, I did not because I needed to keep my head clear. I prayed for help. I trusted the Savior
in knowing that everything would be fine. I was able to be a good example for my children, but also, I
found that I had become an example to my lawyer, the people that I came in contact every day both at work and at church. Many have come up to me and asked me how I do this. How do I keep everything under control? How do I seem to be happy in the midst of all of this mess? I may not have had any of them join the church, but I do know that their lives have changed because I have touched them. I know this, because of the changes that I have seen after I connect with them.
I find that I am an example even to those who have been in the church for many years. I know that many
are watching me to learn how I do “IT”.
I was a single mother who worked, trying my best to keep up with 3 teenage children who have pivotal moments in their lives all at the same time, worked on bringing the outside family back together, writing
in my spare time, exercising  and tried to take a few moments to get back out there and create new
relationships. I also find that with each blessing that either I or my children had, that we were constantly
blessed with health and strength to keep up with what we were doing. I do not understand why I keep
this pace, but find that with the blessings of our Heavenly Father, I can keep up. I ask why am I doing
this, then I keep receiving a strong feeling that I am doing this because I am being an example to those
around me. I am helping them find ways to strengthen their own testimonies. I am helping them find their way back to Heavenly Father.

This is missionary work.
It may be subtle, but it still supports what Heavenly Father and our Savior would like for us to do. I truly
love our Heavenly Father. I love our Savior. I love the gospel and the ever-changing and growing that it
creates within me. I know that this is the pathway that I am to be on. I would recommend that all should
follow what they believe in. Be an example to those around you. Teach them the way back to our Heavenly Father and Savior. If you have a choice between something that will create less or more light withinthe heart, follow the light. It is the right choice.
This is what it is to be a missionary.

Follow the Prophets

In the Primary, there is a song called “Follow the Prophet”. We teach this to our children. Are we doing
this ourselves?
There are many times that our leaders have told us to do this, but are we listening? It took me some time to come across this particular address, but it really helps:
“The Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet” By Ezra Taft Benson on Feb 23, 1980 at Brigham Young University. I would recommend that you attain a copy for yourselves to really understand the simple steps as to why we should do it.
Instead of quoting it, I am going to talk about how it affects me instead.
I was born in this church. I remember as a child, twice a year when we did not get up for church and have everyone changed in our Sunday clothes. Instead, we would be encouraged to come to the TV and while having breakfast of either Blueberry or Chocolate Chip pancakes, we would watch a bunch of old men talk behind this funny stand with a lot of flowers all around. Then when there was a break between these men, a huge group of men and women dressed alike, would get up and sing. Why were they separated? Why, when they are singing, can we get up and move around? I have to admit, this was many years ago and I have learned that listening to those men taught me a lot more than I thought!
Since that time, I have always tried to attend at least one if not more meetings because of the spirit that is there. These men who talk to us are talking to us about the present! This is now! If I do not get a chance to listen or watch a session as it happens, I try to take time and read the sessions in my spare
time.
Have you had a chance to meet our prophet? He has made many attempts to meet as many people that he can. He is always working for the Kingdom. He works circles around me at least! And, no, I have not met him, but I have spent many years listening to his words and he has created a special place in my heart.  If he tells us to do something and we do it, we are blessed. If he tells us that something needs to be done and we do not do it, we miss those blessings and many times our lives are worse. This is a very simple concept.
Our gospel is organized around simple concepts that have many layers. This is why we are always learning more each time we come to church or have an opportunity for more learning. The activities at the Temple are based around the same thing. I have been attending for many years and have found that I learn more each time that I go. I am glad that I have been guided by our Prophet to go.
When we lose a Prophet, there is always another to fill his place, but there is only one on Earth at a
time. I have personally had the opportunity to see this in action. To me, each Prophet is a link. Each one has his own personality, but also has our best interests at stake. Therefore, each Prophet had his special interests concerning us brought to our attention. Remember, we have had a Prophet who was truly organized and had the ability to move thousands of people to a remote location and build a new city. We have had learned men. We have had some who guided our church back into paying our tithing, some who’s main focus was Missionary work, some whose  focus has been on building Temples. Each
time, they have been right and we needed to hear what they say when they say it. This is a constant growing and changing church. If we do not pay attention, we will miss something. I understand that other churches say that when they reach the end of the bible, all is finished, but we have living Prophets who are constantly “Writing” our books. They are adding chapters each day. I am glad that we have this gift that has been given to us.

Love thy neighbor

Matthew 22:39
This is such a hard topic because if you do not love yourself, then how can you love another?  How can I love myself? How do I know that I love myself?
Love is such a strong word, but not easily defined.

What is it? How do I know if I feel it? Is it defined by books? How about movies? Songs?  Is it something that you feel for a short time? Is it something that is forever?
To me, love is a forever feeling. It has many levels. You can love an animal, a child, an eternal companion, and the Savior and each has a different feeling. This is a good thing because it is an individual feeling.
This is why the definition is so difficult to pin down. I can love a dog because it is there for me for
all of its life, but I can love dolphins and never be around one. What is this feeling of love?
Poems have been written for centuries concerning this word.
Now, do I love myself? How do I treat myself? Do I care about me?
I am a child of my Heavenly Father and I am to be treated that way.  This means that I am to take care of myself. My body is a Temple that I have been given. How do I treat my Temple? Is it clean and bright and open for good things to happen? Is it a little dusty from misuse? Do I have rooms in it that I would not like a guest to walk in? Is there enough light in each of the rooms? Is it welcoming, or do we avoid it when it is around us?
How about what I am stuffing in my library? What kinds of media is in there? If I went into my memories of music, will I be assaulted by pounding, screaming noise, or will it be soothing and peaceful? What about the movies? If I open the door to this part of my mind, will the movies be supporting or will they be bad? The same thing about the time I spend on the computer and books.
How does this affect my connection with Heavenly Father and our Savior? If I thought about them, will
they be right there, or will they be far away because I have turned away from them.
My soul is a very precious thing and it tells me what is right if I listen to it. It will guide me to find out what love is.
Love is the total acceptance of another person, place or thing. Most of the time, this is used in reference
of another person. But it is also in reference to ourselves. We desire to accept ourselves. We desire to
find the person that we were born as.
When I look in the mirror, I can either look for the flaws, which will bring in the negative feelings, or I
can look for the light of Christ. When we find this love of ourselves, we then have the ability to shine with the love of our Heavenly Father and our Savior. We are able to express ourselves better and then go from looking inward, to giving outward.
How do we do this?

By praying to our Heavenly Father for guidance, by reading the scriptures that are available to us, by listening to our prophets who already have this gift.  When we have learned to love ourselves, we then have the ability to open our hearts and to “Love our neighbors as ourselves”.

Physical Appearance thought

Physical appearance is only one aspect of a person. When you get to know someone, they become beautiful because of the other aspects that have not normally been seen at first glance. I have many friends. I have them from all walks of life. They have their fears, their joys and their goals for their futures. I have the opportunity to celebrate their achievements, to mourn their losses and to cheer them on through their lives. Do I care what they look like? No. I do my best to see the beauty in all aspects of their lives. My goal is to see something that creates value in my friends and then encourage that within them.

When it comes to dating, though, I found that I dismissed many really good opportunities for an eternal companion because they were not my typical physical attraction. I began to look in the heart instead and found that no matter what they looked like, most of the guys that I spend time with, wish for something that is right before their eyes. This is why, if you noticed, recently I would introduce a female friend to one of my male friends in hopes of getting them to connect.

When I pray and ask for guidance to look beyond the physical appearance, I found that many treasures are given to me.

Henry B. Eyring said: “Every time in my life when I have chosen to delay following inspired counsel or decided that I was an exception, I came to know that I had put myself in harm’s way. Every time that I have listened to the counsel of prophets, felt it confirmed in prayer, and then followed it, I have found that I moved toward safety. Along the path, I have found that the way had been prepared for me and the rough places made smooth. God led me to safety along a path which was prepared with loving care, sometimes prepared long before.”

May we be willing to look beyond the physical appearance and open our hearts for the good things that are waiting for us.

Financial Management in a relationship

Statistics state that many marriages are destroyed because of lack of communication and bad decisions concerning money.
It has been my advice to my daughter that when she married, to make sure that she had an account for her, he had an account for him and then they had a joint account to take care of all household expenses. This way, she had spending money that she did not need to account for down to the penny and he did as well. Because they have heeded my advice, they were able to afford a house, they were able to go out and they were able to purchase items for each other without having to account for everything to each other.
Now, I am sure that many like the idea but there are many who do not. Let me address the ones that do not.
In my first marriage, I was expected to earn money-but not more than my husband. All of this money then went into the expenses for the family care. The sad part was, if I wanted to purchase his Christmas present, he knew how much it was. He would give me a certain amount to spend at the grocery store and then I had to stay within the tight budget to feed all of us($40 for the week for a family of 5 was normal). When I received a paycheck, I signed it and then never saw it again. I had no idea how much the bills were. We did not discuss them because he felt that he was the man of the house and he should take care of all of it.
When we separated and prepared for the divorce, I had no credit because my name was not on most of the bills. I had no budget, so did not know what our expenses would be. According to Elder Marvin J. Ashton, “How important are money management and finances in marriage and family affairs? May I respond, ‘Tremendously.'”
How could I pay tithing when I did not know how much it was?
How could I invest for my future when I had no idea what my present was?
How could I balance my checkbook when I had no idea what was out there?
How could we make a decision about how to improve our lives without knowing what our options were?
Now, I work in finance. I allow myself to play a little bit. I know how much is coming in and how much goes out. I actually get to touch my check before it is gone. I am able to pay my tithing and know that I earned it. I am empowered and you know what? I like it!
So, does this mean that I am in charge in my new relationship? No! We have already agreed that there will be a family joint account that will be contributed by both of us. We will share the bills and if one is not able to keep up their end, we will work it out. But I told him that my wish is that I purchased items for him because I wanted to, not because I had to. He understood and highly agreed!
May we all be willing to talk about things such as finance without feeling cautious with each other is my wish.

Mary

Remember or get a Patriarchal blessing

Most of us have brought with us everything that we learned in the pre-existence. Elder Bruce R. McConkie said, “We were schooled and trained and taught in the most perfect educational system ever devised, and that by obedience to his eternal laws we developed infinite varieties and degrees of talents.”

Wow! So, maybe we need to look into the mirror and really discover what and who we are! What are our talents? What can we do to reach our potential? Where can we find this information?

Well, one of the gifts that we have available to us is a Patriarchial Blessing. It will give us much insight as to who we are and who we can become. This is something that is considered private. It is something that we should not share with others, but it is ok to share with our spouses when we are married. I have found that there are parts that I am willing to share occasionally, but those parts are very minimal.

In my blessing, I find the if/when blessing. If I do my best to be the best I can be (ok, skip the Army song…) I will be blessed with many blessings. If I do not do my best, then those blessings set aside only for me are no longer there. It is a strong reason to keep me striving to be my best in everything that I do.

If you do not have your blessing, I would recommend that you contact your Patriarch and get it. If you do have it, I recommend that you take the time to read it. Then when you have done so, take action! The world is incredible and fun when you do it.

Mary

Learn to resolve differences

Elder Spencer J. Condie wrote: “the great plan of happiness provides countless opportunities for learning to resolve differences, to love, to tolerate and to forgive, and, in the process, to become more like our Heavenly Father and His Son. Opposition in all things, including marriage, does not have to include dissension and continual conflict, but rather the peaceable resolution of differences.”
When a couple has a difference of opinion, they need to talk it out. They need to see each other’s view. If this is not the case. If the couple cannot agree, then they need to realize it before they marry. It is easier to break up a relationship when there is no paper between the couple.
I am not encouraging breaking up. I am encouraging each of us to take the time to learn about each other. To grow in ways other than what is behind the bedroom doors.
Find the differences and find ways to work around them or in other words, learn to compromise.
Please remember to pray together after the incident so that you have a chance to thank each other for opening each other’s minds to more than what you knew before.
If you do this, many disagreements which lead to destruction of relationships would be avoided.

Have a wonderful week!

Mary

From the Over 30 crowd

When I was a kid, adults used to bore me to tears with their tedious diatribes about how hard things were. When they were growing up; what with walking twenty-five miles to school every morning…. Uphill… Barefoot… BOTH ways. yadda, yadda, yadda

And I remember promising myself that when I grew up, there was no way I was going to lay a bunch of crap like that on my kids about how hard I had it and how easy they’ve got it! But now that I’m over the ripe old age of thirty, I can’t help but look around and notice the youth of today. You’ve got it so easy! I mean, compared to my childhood, you live in a damn Utopia! And I hate to say it, but you kids today, you don’t know how good you’ve got it!

I mean, when I was a kid we didn’t have the Internet. If we wanted to know something, we had to go to the library and look it up ourselves, in the card catalog!!
There was no email!! We had to actually write somebody a letter – with a pen! Then you had to walk all the way across the street and put it in the mailbox, and it would take like a week to get there! Stamps were 10 cents!

Child Protective Services didn’t care if our parents beat us. As a matter of fact, the parents of all my friends also had permission to punish us! Nowhere was safe!

There were no MP3’s or Napsters or iTunes! If you wanted to steal music, you had to hitchhike to the record store and shoplift it yourself!

Or you had to wait around all day to tape it off the radio, and the DJ would usually talk over the beginning and screw it all up! There were no CD players! We had tape decks in our car.. We’d play our favorite tape and “eject” it when finished, and then the tape would come undone rendering it useless. Cause, hey, that’s how we rolled, Baby! Dig?

We didn’t have fancy crap like Call Waiting! If you were on the phone and somebody else called, they got a busy signal, that’s it!

There weren’t any freakin’ cell phones either. If you left the house, you just didn’t make a call or receive one. You actually had to be out of touch with your “friends”. OH MY GOD !!! Think of the horror… not being in touch with someone 24/7!!! And then there’s TEXTING. Yeah, right. Please! You kids have no idea how annoying you are.

And we didn’t have fancy Caller ID either! When the phone rang, you had no idea who it was! It could be your school, your parents, your boss, your bookie, your drug dealer, the collection agent… you just didn’t know!!! You had to pick it up and take your chances, mister!

We didn’t have any fancy PlayStation or Xbox video games with high-resolution 3-D graphics! We had the Atari 2600! With games like ‘Space Invaders’ and ‘Asteroids’. Your screen guy was a little square! You actually had to use your imagination!!! And there were no multiple levels or screens, it was just one screen… Forever! And you could never win. The game just kept getting harder and harder and faster and faster until you died! Just like LIFE!

You had to use a little book called a TV Guide to find out what was on! You were screwed when it came to channel surfing! You had to get off your ass and walk over to the TV to change the channel!!! NO REMOTES!!! Oh, no, what’s the world coming to?!?!

There was no Cartoon Network either! You could only get cartoons on Saturday Morning. Do you hear what I’m saying? We had to wait ALL WEEK for cartoons, you spoiled little rat-finks!

And we didn’t have microwaves. If we wanted to heat something up, we had to use the stove! Imagine that! And our parents told us to stay outside and play… all day long. Oh, no, no electronics to soothe and comfort. And if you came back inside… you were doing chores! And car seats – oh, please! Mom threw you in the back seat and you hung on. If you were luckily, you got the “safety arm” across the chest at the last moment if she had to stop suddenly, and if your head hit the dashboard, well that was your fault for calling “shot gun” in the first place! See! That’s exactly what I’m talking about! You kids today have got it too easy. You’re spoiled rotten! You guys wouldn’t have lasted five minutes back in 1980 or any time before!

Regards,
The Over 30 Crowd

You marry who you date

I have a friend who decided that she was tired of the LDS men who are too shy or too picky, so she decided (in a very large way) to date only non-members.There is a saying that is given “You marry who you date”. This is so true! So her choice may not be a good way to go.

We bring to marriage the sum total of who we are-our habits, attitudes, likes and dislikes. Once we are married, we find that there are some adjustments that need to be made because of differences between out personality and that of our marriage partner.To change ourselves before this happens would make the time spent easier.

There are also tremendous stresses placed upon marriages by society. Bills must be paid, deadlines must be met, and responsibilities must be fulfilled. Marriage is not a cure-all for problems!!! Elder Marion D Hanks emphasized this when he said; “The sealing ceremony in the temple is to us beautiful and indispensable, but it does not automatically assure a successful marriage. Such a marriage is brought about, not by circumstance or chance, but by two mature, loving adults, who are able and willing to learn the principles upon which a genuine and durable marriage may be fashioned and who, day-by-day, year-by-year, earnestly make the effort, building on the solid foundation of the covenants of the Temple.”

Choose who you date with care. Surround yourself with those who encourage you, who makes your life grow, who brings joy to your life.

Marriage takes effort and very hard work on both partners. If done right, then the prize is joy and happiness. If let go for even a short time, then it will crumble and be destroyed. Let us make the goal to keep our marriages strong.