Saturday, April 27, 2013

10 People Who Have Influenced Me

OK, eleven

My husband, Richard
He is one of the most amazing people I have ever known.  He knows how to love and reach out to every type of person. He has a Christ-like love for all of our Heavenly Father's children. Loving those  deemed by others as unlovable or "difficult".   He is miles ahead of me in spiritual knowledge and I have been trying to play catch-up to him through all of our relationship. The sound of his voice is the most perfect sound in the world to me.
My daughters
I never imagined when I became a mother that my daughters would inspire me so much. I truly have been blessed with wonderful girls who inspire me in how they stand as witnesses of God wherever they are. 
My parents
My parents are of the highest caliber of parents and in-laws.  People are drawn to them.  They are fun to be around.  They have a special gift of making everyone of their acquaintances, friends, and family secretly feel like they are the "favorites" And we all kind of want to be their favorite because they are such great special people. 
"I Susan, having been born of goodly parents"
My younger brother by about 16 months. We have always been close. Close as in  we can finish each others sentences. He has this keen sense wisdom, maturity, mixed with a great sense of humor. When we see each other, even though it has been years, we pick up as if we haven't missed a day, talk about anything and everything, and love to laugh about it all... 
I love him, and just wished we didn't live 5 states apart. 
As a teenager and now even 30 years + later she is a true friend.  She is the kind of friend who will tell you the truth, when no one else will.  That meant more to me than anything else growing up. She always had my best interest at heart, even if the truth hurt at times, she would be honest and tell me in a kind caring way.  She is a beautiful artist.  In high school she drew a picture that was so astounding they hung it in the counselors office. She has had a lot of obstacles to overcome, and she has always inspired me.
The Carpenters, Barry Manilow, and John Denver
Whenever any of the above come on the radio, everyone has to be quiet so I can sing along!  I grew up loving the Carpenters and John Denver because I was the youngest in a house of teenage boys. That is what they had on the radio, and by the time I was in kindergarten, I had the songs in my head.  The music is timeless and beautiful, and I am just sad that these artists are not with us anymore to keep singing!
I love Barry Manilow as well although very few of my age get that.  Good music inspires me!
Liliana Lopez
A missionary companion of mine...We were a dynamic duo. She is from Uruguay and the night before we were transferred I had a dream and all I could see all night was the face of my future companion who I had never before seen or met.  We were put together the next day, and we were able to do amazing things together as missionary companions. I miss her, and have no idea how to find her as names change and are so much the same in South America.
Boyd K. Packer
One of my favorite Apostles of all time.  I have read every book he has ever written and love his style and the way he views life.  He inspired me during the early years of our marriage when our kids were small.  I took his example and have tried to raise my family after the pattern that he taught. 
Russell M. Nelson
He was the one who came out to Arkansas and set apart my dad when he was called into the Stake Presidency while I was on my mission. He raised 9 girls and one boy.  Can I tell you how many times while we were having our daughters, one after the other, that people commented on how Elder Nelson "had 9 girls before they got their boy"!
Elder Nelson came to a Stake Conference we had many years ago when I was pregnant with # 6, and receiving flack from those around us at "having so many children" I remember going to this conference with all of my pregnancy emotions and feeling overwhelmed. Life was very busy for us with our busy family of small children. Finances were tight, and my husband was as busy as ever, this time serving as the Scoutmaster in our ward. As Elder Nelson was giving his talk on family, and was talking about his family and his wife. He mentioned how they had 5 children before they could afford it, and while he served as the Scoutmaster in their ward.(the similarities were attention-catching) He then paused for a moment, and then spoke as if DIRECTLY to me and said, "the day will come when you will get down on your knees and thank the Lord God for the children you have!" 
 I knew he was inspired to say that for me.
Sheri Dew
Sheri Dew inspired me like no other woman leader of the Church had done up to that point. When she spoke, I felt as if the Savior was speaking directly to me through her.  She spoke in a style that resonated with my soul. No fluff, no sweetsy talk. She said it direct, and with power and the spirit. Just the way I like it! 
I wrote her a letter of thanks way back then, and surprisingly she wrote me back within the same week.  I still have those letters. They mean the world to me. 
 (I know we are not supposed to write to the leaders. So don't try this at home)
Julie B. Beck
Again, a powerful leader, every bit as great as Sheri Dew.  I don't have to tell you how Julie Beck inspired me, you know! I named this blog after one of her talks!  I just hope to be a small part of who they are.

Why am I talking about this? It is all part of my hopes and dreams list. See my original post {here}

Friday, April 26, 2013

My 5 Passions...

My 5 passions are going to sound a lot like my testimony, as everything I write about on this blog is surrounded by what I believe.  It is who I am.  When you are done reading mine, I'd like you hear yours. 

Passion #1:

My family.  I am kind of in love with my family.  I think they are pretty great.  I love being a wife. And I love being a mother. 

Passion #2:

The Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I love it.  I love truth and pure doctrine and love learning it, teaching it and sharing it with others. 

Passion #3:

The temple.  I love the temple.  One of the sweet fruits of being parents, is being able to prepare our children to receive the blessings of the temple, and to be there with them when it happens. 

Passion #4:

Challenges.   I love challenges. Weird I know.  I love to try to figure hard things out, turning to the Lord, thinking hard, and growing because of it.

Passion #5

Lists, goals, and being organized.  Don't be tricked into thinking I am more organized than you are.  I am probably not because I am also a huge procrastinator.  But I love a list, having a goal and trying to work towards it. 

What are your passions?

Why am I talking about this? It is all part of my hopes and dreams list. See my original post {here}

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

From My Head and My Heart

Several months ago, back in December to be exact, I wrote a blog post I had been creating in my mind for a long time.  The topic was Temples are Not Castles which I originally titled "Why I Love the Temple".

The idea behind this post comes from a popular quote that has been passed around Face book and Pinterest:

"If this isn't your castle, then you're not my prince" which was a caption under a picture of the temple.

Due to Pinterest this post has had over 650 views and several comments.Not everyone has felt the way I do, which is fine.  I appreciate everyones input.    But to not be misunderstood...I want to readdress this topic.

 If you know me, you know I have strong feelings about the importance of temples, after all the temple is my home-away-from-home. I work there, and love my job. It is a treasure to me, and I feel so blessed to be on the front-lines so to speak of temple work in our area. 

This quote is not a Church approved quote. It is just something someone came up with and has been used and taken by mainly the young women.  I don't have a HUGE problem with it,because I know what it is meaning: our young women are saying "I will not settle for anything less than a temple marriage.  That if you want me, it will be in the temple. " I get that. And love that.  What our new General Young Women's President, Bonnie Oscarson, what Elaine Dalton wants,  what the Lord wants, and what I want...are the same: to see our daughters live worthily, receive the ordinances and covenants of the temple, and return back to live with their Heavenly Father.

 But in teaching my daughters I want them to understand the difference between a castle and a temple. 

It has become a teaching point more than anything, and I don't shrink back from what I feel or what I said.  A temple is not a castle, and our daughters and young women need to know that a temple is not just a dreamy, pretty place. It is a place where we go to make and keep sacred covenants

 I know that may be technical for some, but it is a clarification I want my daughters to understand.

In the Young Women theme, the young women recite these words:

We are daughters of our Heavenly Father, who loves us, and we love Him. We will “stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places” (Mosiah 18:9) as we strive to live the Young Women values, which are:

Faith • Divine Nature • Individual Worth • Knowledge • Choice and Accountability • Good Works • Integrity • and Virtue
We believe as we come to accept and act upon these values, we will be prepared to strengthen home and family, make and keep sacred covenants, receive the ordinances of the temple, and enjoy the blessings of exaltation.
The young women of this generation feel this strongly.  They are prepared and preparing to be righteous mothers, wives, and to receive the ordinances of the temple.

My twin daughters just returned from a trip to London, England where they were able to tour a castle.
~A real castle~

These are all different views of Windsor Castle
It so BIG and so amazing.

So...What are castles used for?
  • They house Royalty
  • Important business is conducted there
  • Important documents are kept there
  • Castles protect people, during times of war people would go there for safety
Can you see where I am going with this?
Does that sound like what a temple is?

In my mind, a castle is just a counterfeit temple.

Amazing as castles are....and as dreamy as they can be....they can never be  a TEMPLE. 
They are not the same thing. 
Let's teach our daughters and young women that a temple is MUCH MUCH MORE
than a castle!

Temples are magnificent, breathtaking, dedicated,
holy Houses of God where the Spirit of our Heavenly Father is felt and is present, and where the power of the Priesthood presides and binds families together forever.

They house the Royalty--Us!

Important business is conducted here--
the business of sealing family together for time and all eternity
As well as important documents stored

TEMPLES can SAVE people ~eternally~ and
provide spiritual protection today
I hope all young women prepare themselves to be married for time and all eternity,
to make and keep sacred covenants in a
 TEMPLE of God

Friday, April 5, 2013

Our Conference Food

It is Conference Time!!
 ...and OH!! How we love to EAT!

We look forward to the food as much as the speakers.
It is a physical and spiritual feast of the BEST!

So glad to beable to share our favorite Conference food with you!!


Cinnamon Rolls
Download recipe {here}

Eggs and Ham Overnight
(Breakfast Casserole)
Download recipe {here}

Chicken Parmesan Salad Sandwiches
Download recipe {here}

Pork Barbecoa Salad (Cafe Rio style)
Download recipe {here}

 Have a great Conference Weekend!


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Making Conference Journals

How are YOU preparing for General Conference?
One way to prepare is to create a Conference Journal.
A conference journal is a journal where you will write down the special messages from the Lord that are just for you.  You will hear these at General Conference. They will come as personal messages, or impressions from the Spirit, or answers to your prayers. Write them down as they come so that you will be able to remember them, and  implement them.
Elder Richard G. Scott mentioned an experience he had in a church meeting he attended, while listening to a lesson, inspiration came to him...
"As each impression came, I carefully wrote it down. In the process, I was given precious truths that I greatly needed in order to be a more effective servant of the Lord. The details of the communication are sacred and, like a patriarchal blessing, were for my individual benefit. I was given specific directions, instructions, and conditioned promises that have beneficially altered the course of my life."
"What I have described is not an isolated experience. It embodies several true principles regarding communication from the Lord to His children here on earth. I believe that you can leave the most precious, personal direction of the Spirit unheard because you do not respond to, record, and apply the first promptings that come to you."

We will not remember everything we hear this weekend at conference. When the May Ensign comes out we will be able to read and remember the talks that we heard.  We will remember however, how  we FELT when we hear a certain talk or a certain counsel. If we write down these impressions and specific counsel for us personally, we are getting out of conference what the Lord wants us to hear and understand for our lives.

You dedicate these words of personal revelation to a special Conference Journal.  My daughters who are 12 and older take a special journal with them whenever they go to Stake Conference, General Conference, or special meetings or broadcasts.  Keeping and writing in a journal during conference gives them a personal purpose to being there. They have an invested interest.  They are going there to learn something and to receive personal revelation for their lives.  The Conference Journal becomes a valuable keepsake for them.

My daughters spent a few hours on Sunday making Conference Journals.  I thought they turned out really cute and wanted to share them with you.  You have probably all made something like these before.  They are so easy to do. Just buy a cheap composition notebook and some scrap paper.

And with some creative juices  you can come up with something perfect for you.

 Here is the back...which is also cute

Have a great Conference experience!