Monday, December 22, 2014

Exactly. One Bomb Maker. We're Trying to Figure Out How An Entire Network of Terrorist Groups is Financed and You Give Us One Bomb Maker. Hardly the Big Picture, Wouldn't You Say?

I'm getting deeper and deeper into this puppy business.

Mary's group has been researching which pet stores get their puppies from puppy mills, and which stores get their puppies from breeders. This is a difficult task, because while the Hunte corporation is a huge puppy mill company, it's just as possible for that individual breeder to be running a puppy mill out of their backyard. It's hard to know which breeders take care of their dogs, and which ones are mass producing puppies for profit (Thus why you should never buy a dog, only adopt them!).

There is a local pet store that, unlike most of the pet stores around here, does not get their puppies from the Hunte cooperation. The group has tried to figure out where they get their puppies from, but of course the store is very secretive. They have tags next to each of their display cages, saying the name and city of the breeder, but no one official checks that information, so it could be made-up or falsified.

The number one problem is that since Mary's group has protested several times in front of the store, the store knows everyone in Mary's group and will not let them inside to see the tags.

By chance, the group got a name of a breeder on one of the tags. He has several violations going back several years for animal cruelty and neglect. he's one of those breeders who runs his own puppy mills. His licence for breeding has been revoked. He is also a registered child molester who broke parole last year and has a warrant out for his arrest.

Mary's group, with it's nationwide connections and know-how, figured out how to track this guy down and bring him to justice, BUT, they needed to make sure he was actually providing puppies to this store,

Mary asked if I could go undercover. The group needed photographs of the tag with the breeder's name on it, and to see if there were any other puppies from that same breeder. Mary asked if I would go in pretending to want to buy a puppy, and sneakily take pictures of the tags.

It was exciting! I took the girls with me, and gave Ash my camera phone so she could take the pictures (no one questions a kid playing on a smartphone!) and not only did we get the information the group needed, but the girls got to see a bunch of really, really adorable puppies. We didn't get caught and hopefully we did our part to rid the world of one animal abuser and child molester.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Only Have To Sign Your Name, Don't Even Have to Read It.

I went to a protest. Despite all my talk, I've never actually participated in a physical protest. Probably because I'm very uncomfortable with confrontation. Can't we all just get along? Can't everyone just realize that my opinions are the right ones?

For me, the most surprising thing about the protest was what I was protesting. Was I  protesting the human slave trade? No. Unequal pay of women? No. The marketing of baby formula to disadvantaged mothers? No. Slaughter houses? Nope.

I was protesting a pet store.

A while back I met a women named Mary. Mary loves dogs. Mary is one of those people that loves dogs more than people. Mary is part of a group that is actively working to ban the practice of Puppy Mills.

Never heard of Puppy Mills? Google it. Right now. Educate yourself. "Google Puppy Mills" is the slogan plastered all over Mary's car. She's all about education, and I love that by telling people to Google it for themselves, she isn't trying to teach them biased hyperbole; she wants them to get the facts for themselves. I'm all about that!

The solution to Puppy Mills is simple: Don't buy pets, adopt them. Pets from your local animal shelters need homes and only cost adoption fees (for shots, spaying and so forth). If people stop paying money for dogs, they will no longer be a commodity. No demand, no mass-producing. There will be no more puppy mills, but everyone can still have a pet if they wish. Everyone wins.

Mary got me into all of this. Her group protests in front of different pet store. They have a protest every Saturday and Sunday. This last year they were a huge part of passing a law that bans the sale of puppy mill puppies in a neighboring city. It was a major victory for them, and they want all the cities in our area to pass a similar law.

Mary asked if Ash and I would come protest on a weekday with her. She thought that having a five-year-old with us would really get people's attention. Ash really wanted to go, so they finally convinced me. We headed down to the mall.

The pet store was conveniently located right across hall from the mall's playplace, so Alexa and I settled down there so I could watch Mary do her thing. She held up a sign (telling people to Goggle puppy mills) and asked people if they would sign her petition to pass a the aforementioned law in this city. After a few minutes, I felt I had gotten the gist of what she was doing, so I stepped in and took the petition from her so she could hold her sign.

My goal was not to make the pet store shut down. I wanted the people to know that, so I came up with my own approach. It was a weekday evening in December in a popular mall, so there was plenty of foot traffic. I would ask people if they wanted to sign a petition to help protect dogs. Well, this is Sunland. EVERYONE here has a dog. Everyone loves dog. Many cities have their own Halloween parties just for dogs. Dogs are a big thing here. Of course the people at the mall wanted to protect puppies. They would stop and say something along the lines of "How?"  or "What's the catch?" or "What are you trying to do?" And I would launch into my speech:

We are trying to get this store and others like in this city to do what big chain pet stores like PetsMart have already done: Stop selling puppies that have been bred to sell and instead partner with local shelters to adopt pets out. This would save the dogs and cats, but it would also make getting a dog from this store more affordable for you. Instead of paying upwards of $2,000, you'd just have to pay the adoption fees, which are usually under $100.  Will you sign our petition to ban the sale of puppy mill puppies in this city?

One of the first guys I talked to was very defensive. He demanded to know what i was doing, he made little sniping comments, he seemed very condescending of my ideas, but he kept asking questions and I kept answering them, explaining about animal shelters and puppy mills. In the end, not only did he sign the petition, but he went and got his brother so I could explain the whole thing to him to he could sign. I was amazed. Did I just win an argument? Does that even happen in real life? I swayed someone over to my side with an even tone and facts? AMAZING!

Of course, the vast majority of people I talked to not only knew all about puppy mills, but a bunch of them had rescued puppy mill mothers. They had horror stories about the condition of the dog when they were rescued. They had some astonishing stories.

Near the end, out of the corner of my eye I saw the mall manager, assistant manager, and a few security guards heading toward us. I was talking to someone, so I just kept talking. They approached Mary, asked her what we were doing, then after she explained, they asked her if she was with the group that protested on the weekends. She said yes and they handed both her and me a stack of papers outlining the rules we needed to follow while protesting in their mall. They also told us we were supposed to fill out a form asking for a permit to protest and that the form needed to be turned in 24 hours prior to the protest. By this time, they were talking directly to me. I calmly answered that I was unaware, but thanked them for the information and I would be sure to follow all their procedures in the future. The manager then looked at Mary and said "Your group has never once filled out a permit request."

Mary opened her mouth, then closed it again, unsure how to answer.

"Because if they had, we can really do a lot." The manager continued. "We can have tables set up for you guys, chairs, even. We can have areas where you can hang your signs and banners. In another mall I own, a few years ago, I helped a group like yours organize an adoption day with the local shelter, so that instead of buying a puppy form the store, people could adopt one from the protesters."

At this point both Mary's and my mouth was open. "Uh...what?"

"I mean, I'm not here on weekends, so I've never seen your group, but I heard it was kind of provocative, but here you guys are and I see that you are just trying to help. You're being polite and not causing any trouble and you just really want to spread the word for these dogs. You are the kind of people I want to work with. I love dogs. I have two rescue dogs, myself. I'd really like to help you and your group."

And that was that. We exchanged phone numbers, told a few stories, shared a few laughs, and then they left. Mary and I stayed for a few more minutes fore heading home. We had over three pages names on our petition (Mary said that is more than they usually get over a weekend) and it was getting late. Mary called the group leader, who was thrilled, and they've already started planning an adoption day at the mall!

Not only was it my first protest, it was a hugely successful protest!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Let Us In, Let Us In! Let Us Out, Let Us Out!

Our front door broke today. It wouldn't open at all. After some inspection, it was deduced that it wasn't so much the door that was broken but the deadbolt. It's wouldn't un-bolt. We were locked in.

Drek got out his power tools and set about taking apart the hinges. He then went around to the out side and strategically hit the door until it came off its frame.

"Hey!" I said. "Remember that time, in our first apartment, where I came home from work and our front door was missing? Because our landlord just took off with it for a few hours?"

Drek frowned. "No."  He examined the deadbolt and declared it broken beyond repair."Remember that one time we had to break down a door to free my mom from the not-yet-opened Mexican hospital we were squatting in?"

"Oh yeah!" I laughed.  "Good times."

Drek went to the hardware store to get a new lock while I stood guard against coyotes or alligators or whatever else could just wander in to our house on account of our no-door policy. He came back and returned the front door to its hinges and frame.

Of the two stories, I've just told all there was to the first one, but the latter is way better:

When Drek and I were dating his family decided to do a service project down in Mexico over Christmas break because they are awesome like that. Realizing these were my kind of people, I volunteered to go along. The day after Christmas we drove across the border and found ourselves in a very poor area of a Mexican city. The Catholic Padre who was our contact in Mexico said we would be spending the night in an under-construction building that would eventually be a hospital.  The building was almost completed: The walls and floors and roof had all been finished, there was even tile in some parts of the building.

To this day, I don't know if we were "approved" to be there. I know the Padre said he was going to lock us in "for our protection" and he would be back to free us in the morning. There was nothing official about the situation. We were just locked in a building and told to stay there until morning, so Drek's family laid their sleeping bags out on the concrete floor and Drek's mom went into a room to change into her pajamas, closing the door behind her.

The door closed a little too well and, like our front door, then refused to open back up. Drek's mom for several minutes to open it before calling for help. The whole family then tried to open it. Drek's dad and brothers tried to break the door down by running up to it and throwing themselves against it, but the door was surprisingly solid. Drek's dad broke out the power tools we brought with us and removed the door handle, but that didn't open the door. It wasn't a broken lock, the door itself was broken.

I already gave away the ending so this story isn't very suspenseful. Needless to say we did not just leave her to rot in a foreign country.  The next suggestion was that we take the door off its hinges, but the hinges were on the other side of the door. We tied the power drill to an extension cord and swung it out the window to where Drek's mom could catch it. She then took the door off its hinges and the door FINALLY opened. Of course, we fixed the whole thing before leaving the next day.

And that is all the stories I have about doors.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Young Women in Excellence: You are a Star

Young Women in Excellence. Oooh boy. 

As Personal Progress leader, I was told this was my big night. Having no idea what was required and having little memory of Young Women in Excellence's from my time in Young Women, I turned to Pintrest where I came across the idea of doing an oscar night theme. Obviously, this was appealing to me. I ran it by the other Young Women leaders and they loved it. Our theme was: You are a Star; A Light in the Darkness. 

The idea was that our Young Women are Stars. We sent them a Hollywood-esque invitation and I even typed out a letter to each of our "nominees" (The girls getting Personal Progress ribbons) in the style of the Academy Awards. I sent a similar letter to the girls who were not getting ribbons, asking them to be our presenters. The Laurel Class president was our Host, and a Young Women who had already completed her Personal Progress was our main presenter. 

Set up: 

We had a red carpet lined with lights running down the middle aisle.

One of the Young Women leaders is a professional photographer and took a glamour shot of each Young Women a few Sundays prior. She and another leader then painted frames gold and set up this beautiful display: 

 On the chalkboards we hung formal dresses. The girls were asked to come in formals and they looked amazing!

 We made a "walk of Fame' star for each Young Woman

We had balloons with long gold ribbons and stars dangling from the ceiling.

I wanted to feature the beehives in some way, since most of them were too new to be getting ribbons. I asked them to do a poster to display at the event. if they did it, it counted toward a Personal Progress experience. 

The program was very simple: song (Lead, Kindly Light) , prayer, I gave a talk (2 minutes and twelve seconds long!) the Young Women president gave a short talk, and then was watched the most AMAZING video made by our camp leader. She used pictures and videos of the girls over the last year to make this incredible video which we projected on the giant screen, and wired into the building's audio so we had surround sound. 

After the video was the awards:

Each "category" was whatever combination of ribbons the Young Woman happened to be getting. For example, we had a a category for Divine Nature and Integrity, and another one for Faith, Good Works and Virtue. That way each girl only came up once. It also made it more dramatic. 

Our main presenter had a script which I made out of the mottos for each of the values. For example she would say: "The Divine Nature and Integrity Award exemplifies a daughter of Heavenly Father who is striving to develop her divine qualities by having the moral courage to make her actions consistent with her knowledge of right and wrong." and the other presenter would then say "And the award goes to..." open the envelope and read the name.  The girl would come up the red carpet, accept her ribbons, then give a two minute "acceptance speech" where she talked breifly about her value projects and bore her testimony. 

And the award goes to...
Her acceptance speech:

We then had a slideshow of the girl getting her Young WoamnHood Recognition Award, then the Bishop gave a talk and presented the medallion to her. She then gave a wonderful testimony, we had a closing song (Teach Me to Walk in the Light) and prayer and done! Total time: 45 minutes! Hooray! 

For refreshments, we had a cake:

This was our handout for each of the Young Women to take home. The bag is filled with StarBursts, of course. 

The best part was the beginning: I had announced our "Red Carpet Event" would be at 6:30, with the actual event starting at 7:00. I did this in hopes that everyone would arrive a few minutes before 7:00, instead of several minutes after. 

Well, it worked! Most of the girls had arrived by 6:45! Once a girl arrived, she was ushered onto the red carpet where her parents and our professional photographer snapped several photos while she posed and smiled in her formal dress. 

After the pictures, I would rush in and ask if I could ask her some questions. I had someone video tape all the "interviews" and basically I acted like those reporters on the Red Carpet. I had prepared a few questions for each girl; questions about their value projects, their most recent personal progress experience and the role they would be playing that night, and finished each interview with "Tell us about what you are wearing." 

I was surprised how much the girls got into this. Each girl treated the interview very seriously, acting as if they really were a star on the red carpet. It was awesome. I'm not sure what I'll do with all the footage, but I have it! 

Here is my talk, which is mostly straight out of the Personal Progress book. 

We are here to celebrate the young women’s participation in Personal Progress over the last year. The requirements for personal progress are: 
Attend sacrament meeting regularly 
 Live the standards in For the Strength of Youth. 
Attend seminary if of seminary age. 
 Read the Book of Mormon regularly. 
Keep a personal journal. 
Have a testimony of the Savior Jesus Christ. 
And complete the value experiences and value project for each of the eight values. 

So why do all this? Participating in Personal Progress teaches you to make commitments, carry them out, and report your progress to a parent or leader. The patterns you establish as you work on Personal Progress—such as prayer, scripture study, service, and journal keeping—will become personal daily habits. These habits will strengthen your testimony and help you learn and improve throughout your life. It will teach you how to receive personal revelation, which you need to reach your potential in life. It may not seem like a life changing decision to do Faith experience #1, but every time you make that choice to say your personal prayer, you are shining a little brighter. Each scripture verse you read imparts upon you the spirit and light of Christ. Every act of service you perform, no matter how small, is you acting as Christ would act. These little things all add up to who you are, and you are a star. You are a beloved daughter of Heavenly Father, prepared to come to the earth at this particular time for a sacred and glorious purpose. You have a noble responsibility to use your strength and influence for good. 

 In John 8:12 our Savior says: I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. 

 The Personal Progress program is designed around Jesus Christ. Working on our Personal Progress means walking in the light. The longer we walk in the light, the more that light becomes a part of us, until we are the ones shining, the ones radiating the light of Christ wherever we go. We will reach our divine potential and shine with the light of life. We will be stars.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

No. No! That's Not True! That's Impossible!

October means it's time for our annual How To Host A Murder Dinner Party! This year we picked Roman Ruins. All the episodes are fun, but this one was great. We had wonderful friends, good food, we even solved the murder!

Most of the male costumes required Togas. Because a huge part of a Roman slave's job was to dress the men in Togas because it is so very complicated, and none of us own any Roman slaves, the toga costumes were mostly a draped sheet over a T-shirt. They looked just fine.

During one of the later rounds, it came out that a certain character's father was not actually his father. A few accusations were thrown around, and then it was realized that the real father was played by another character. That character turned to his son and with an outstretched hand announced: "I am your father!  Join me, and together, we can rule the empire as father and son!" At which point he threw off his toga to reveal his Darth Vader T-shirt.

It was just too perfect. He had no idea the script would play out that way, it's just he is a huge Star Wars fan and most of his T-shirts happen to be Star Wars. The one he picked to go under his toga was his Darth Vader one, because the color matched his toga. It was not planned, but it was oh, so perfect.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

In the Kingdom of God the Real You is More Precious Than Rubies. - Elder Holland

I was in charge of the Young Women (Church group of ages 12-18 girls) activity this week. I've never been in charge of a church youth activity before. It was scary. I knew I wanted to do something about body image, but I didn't know what. I spent about three months preparing for this activity. 

First, this is why I did what I did: Our society is sick. Our society does not view a woman as a person, and that is so ingrained in us that even women don't see each other as people. We don't even see ourselves as a person.  An example: boys are taught to use their bodies. Girls are taught to "improve" their bodies. That was what I wanted to change.

In our culture women are trained to believe that it's socially inappropriate to love their own bodies. We're taught, instead, to bond with each other over our hatred of our bodies. It reads like a script: A friend starts complaining about "feeling fat," we tell her she isn't fat, and then find some part of our own body to complain about.

Similarly, when we're complimented on our looks, we're taught to "be modest" and say "Oh, this old thing?!" or "Oh, no, I really wish I had your..."

This means, as women, we spend a lot of time with other women picking apart our bodies, piece by piece. We may compliment each other, but we don't compliment ourselves. When was the last time you said something positive about your body out loud? When was the last time you thought something positive about your body?

What a problem! Turning to the church, I found answers ! I found three talks, one by Elder Holland, one by Sister Tanner, and the new talk given at Women's conference by Sister Marriot. With that, and inspiration from this blog, I did this:

First, I emailed the mother's of the Young Women, told them we would be having an activity about the body, said gave them this quote: "A mother who radiates self-love and self-acceptance actually vaccinates her daughter against low self-esteem." Naomi Wolf

I then asked them this:  With that in mind, I'm asking you to do one thing  1) Within hearing of your daughters, say something like "I love my body" or "my body is amazing" or something to that effect.

The girls arrived at a leader's house and sat in a circle in the backyard around an unlit fire-pit. Each girl was given a clipboard that had a blank piece of paper, and an envelope. They were instructed to write their name on the envelop:

They were then told to pass their clipboard to the girl on their right. Now, each girl held someone else's paper. On that paper, they were told to write something they liked about that person's body. (Shrieks, giggles, questions about clarification. This is a CHURCH activity after all). After one minute, they passed the clipboard to their right, and did it again. After four or five passes, they were told that when they finished writing, they were to take the piece of paper, fold it up, put it in the envelope and seal it. Once they turned over the envelope they saw this:
When all the envelopes were sealed, they handed the envelope back to the person whose name was on it. At this point, a leader lit a match and stuck it in the fire-pit, which was ready to burst into a bonfire. 

While she was doing that, I said this: 
 In your hands you hold what others think of your body; Other’s opinion on what is solely yours. Burn them. Throw them into the fire. (and they did!) 

It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter at all what anyone else thinks about your body. Your body is God’s sacred creation. He made it as a gift for you, not for anyone else. When it comes to your body, there are only two opinions that matter at all: Yours, and God’s. All other opinions should be burned. Burned out of your speech and burned out of your thoughts. 

I then gave a short talk. I pulled heavily from Sister Tanner's talk from above. 
In the premortal realm we learned that the body was part of God’s great plan of happiness for us. We “shouted for joy” (Job 38:7) to be part of this plan. You, (insert names of a few of the girls) shouted for joy when you learned you would receive that body. 

 Why were we so excited? We understood eternal truths about our bodies. We knew that our bodies would be in the image of God. We knew that our bodies would house our spirits. Joseph Smith taught: “We came to this earth that we might have a body and present it pure before God in the Celestial Kingdom. The great principle of happiness consists in having a body.” 

Satan learned these same eternal truths about the body. His punishment is that he does not have one. Therefore he tries to do everything he can to get us to abuse or misuse our precious gift. He has filled the world with lies and deceptions about the body. He seduces women to despise their bodies. He entices the world to regard the body merely as an object. 

The attention we give to our outward appearance can become an obsession for some. Sometimes there is a selfish excess of exercising, dieting, makeovers, and spending money on the latest fashions (see Alma 1:27). Susan Tanner says: I am troubled by the practice of extreme makeovers. Happiness comes from accepting the bodies we have been given as divine gifts and enhancing our natural attributes, not from remaking our bodies after the image of the world. The Lord wants us to be made over—but in His image, not in the image of the world, by receiving His image in our countenances (see Alma 5:14, 19). 

(1 Cor. 3:16–17). “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? What would happen if we truly treated our bodies as temples? I want you all to think about how the world would be different if we all treated our bodies as the Temples they truly are. Would we make fun of another’s body? Would we starve our bodies? Would we look in the mirror and pick out things we don’t like about our bodies? I don’t think so. I think the result would be a dramatic increase in kindness, both to ourselves and others. There would be a great increase in observing and understanding of the Word of Wisdom, and a similar decrease in the problems of dieting and abuse. \

Now, I want you to take another piece of paper, and once again write your name at the top. I want you to think back to when you shouted for joy in the premortal life. I want you to think about God making a body just for you, a wonderful and unique gift made special just for you. On your piece of paper, I want you to write down five things you like about your own body. 

The paper I handed them had a quote from For The Strength Of The Youth on the bottom:"Your body is God’s sacred creation. Respect it as a gift from God, and do not defile it in any way." 

I was really worried the girls would struggle with this part. I had decided beforehand to be firm, and insist they could write five things.  

I had done this activity with the Young Women leaders a few weeks earlier. They gave a lot of feedback. We decided that after the girls were done writing, every leader would stand up and say one thing they loved about their bodiy and why. This part was amazing! We have some incredible leaders and they really did a good job of showing that it's ok to say good things about your own body! After they were done, I said one thing I loved about my body and why, and then announced that each girl would, in turn, stand up and read her list. She needed to say five things she loves about her body and why. 

I was expecting more opposition, but because the leaders had done such a great job showing how to do it, there was very little protest. A lot of the girls had kept writing while the leaders were talking, being reminded of other things they liked about their body, or realizing that they had permission to lie a certain feature, or to write down a certain feature. There were only two girls that struggled, which blew me away. I thought most of them would struggle (probably because I struggled with this so much). 

When they were done, I gave them a handout that had this quote: 
Placed around the world, temples have their own unique look and design on the outside, but inside they all contain the same eternal light, purpose, and truth. In 1 Corinthians 3:16 we read, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” We too as daughters of God have been placed all around the world, like temples, and we each have our own unique look and outward design, like temples. We also have a spiritual light within us, like temples. This spiritual light is a reflection of the Savior’s light. Others will be attracted to this brightness. - Neil F Marriot 

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Meet The Mormons

I suggest a trip to the movies this weekend:

Net Proceeds from the movie are donated to the Red Cross.

Here is more information about the movie,

Let's all go see it!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Or Maybe If a Guy was Walking Along and He Tripped, and He Hit his Head on a Rock and He Wasn't Dead, But You Knew He Was Going to Die, I Could Probably Start Eating Him. But If He Woke Up I'd Stop, cuz I Figure, Hey, That's Normal Human Etiquette and I'm Not Crossing That Line for Anybody

Yesterday I was driving to a friends house with Ash and Alexa in the backseat.

"Mama!" Ash said, thinking of something else to say. "Did you know some, some people eat...people without knives or forks?"

I paused, not quite sure what she was saying. Ash is speaking in the typical five-year-old dialect, where there are long pauses in the middle of sentences and sometimes she starts the sentence over again in the middle of the sentence. Most of the time it's not hard to understand, but in this case the wording made a difference.  Was she talking about cannibals or poor table manners? "Um...what?"

"Did you know some people, people without knives or forks?"

"Some people eat without knives or forks?"

"Yes! They eat people without knives or forks!"

I paused again, trying to decipher what she was trying to say, at the same time wondering where in the world this was coming from.  "People eat people?"

"Without knives or forks."

"People eat without knives or forks?"

"People eat PEOPLE without knives or forks/"

"Are you saying people eat other people? Humans eating humans?"

"Yes. Did you know that?"

"Uh...."   I would like to remind everyone that my daughter is five years and two weeks old. "Who told you that?"

"Maile told me. She said people eat people without knives or forks."

Ah, the influence of an older cousin. So, in a car, driving to a friend's house, I got to have a conversation with my five year old about cannibalism. And how it's wrong. And we don't eat people. Not with forks and knives, not without forks and knives. It's an important conversation to have with your children?

Friday, September 19, 2014

I've Heard It Both Ways

Two weeks ago, on the 8th of September, Alexa and I picked Ash up from school and drove to an appointment with a speech therapist. Ash just needs a few sessions to clear up her pronunciation. Because this was out first appointment, and I didn't know how long it would take to pick up Ash from school and then drive out to the appointment, we arrived about thirty minutes early. We checked in and sat down to wait.

After twenty minutes, my phone rang. As soon as I picked it up and heard the "hello" on the other end, I knew something was very wrong. It was our dear friend, Amy calling. Her mother, our Bubba, had had a seizure or a stoke and had been taken to the hospital by ambulance. Amy was calling to tell me that the last thing her mother said to her was for her to call me and ask for a blessing. I talked to her for a few minutes, said I would send Drek over to the hospital for the blessing, and I would be right there to pick Amy up and take her back to our house.

I apologized to the women at the front desk and told them I had to cancel my appointment. I then packed Ash and Sera back into the car, all while trying to call Drek, who wasn't answering his phone. I then called Bubba's home teacher, and explained to him what had happened. I asked him if he and Drek could go to the hospital and give Bubba a blessing. He said he would jump in the car right then and pick Drek up on his way.

Once again I called Drek, who didn't answer. I then started the car and started to drive home. Ash asked why we were going home and why she wasn't going to her speech therapy. I explained that Bubba was sick and an ambulance had taken her to the hospital and we needed to go pick up Amy, right after we stopped off at home and explained to Daddy that he had two seconds to change clothes before Bubba's home teacher picked him up and took him to the hospital to give Bubba a blessing. Ash asked a few questions about Bubba, and I kept driving while answering them.

My phone rang. Glancing at the caller ID I saw that it was not Drek, but my wonderful sister. I answered, and in a sleepy voice she said "Hi. I'm sorry your friend is sick."

I paused, mind reeling, trying to figure out what my sister was talking about. Had I posted something about a sick friend? Not in the five minutes since I found out about Bubba, surely.


"Your friend that went to the hospital today. I'm sorry."

Holy guacamole beans, my sister is psychic.  "Wow. I just found out myself. How did you know that?"

My sister laughed. "You  called me just now. I heard you telling Ash. Did you not mean to call me?"

Mystery solved.  In the meantime, Drek had still not answered his phone. He was busy working away, when there was a knock on the door. He answered, and was surprised to find Bubba's home teacher standing there, in a suit and tie, asking if he was ready to go to the hospital. Naturally, Drek thought I had crashed the car and his whole family was in the hospital trying to get a hold of him.

I turned down the road just a minute later, saw Bubba's home teacher was already there, turned around and picked up Amy. Three minutes later we were pulling on to our driveway, just as Drek, in a suit and tie, was getting into the car with Bubba's home teacher, still trying to understand what had happened.

But everything has turned out ok. Bubba is out of the hospital. She is recovering well thus far, I don't actually have a psychic sister, although sometimes she can read my mind, and Drek has taken to answering his phone the first time I call.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

And Over Here, We Have the Cafeteria, Where We Were Mauled by Snakes.

This evening I was on our desktop computer and talking to Drek at the same time, who was standing to the side. Suddenly Drek froze, then very calmly said "how about you back away from the..." 

I had already pushed off of the desk and my rolling office chair was halfway across the room. I was sure there was some giant spider. 

But it wasn't. Drek, out of the corner of his eye, had seen one of the computer cables move. And keep moving. He grabbed some kitchen tongs, I grabbed a bucket and a few minutes later: 

We decided it was a baby gopher snake. Non-venomous, and they don't even bite. besides, this one was just a baby and the poor thing was so scared! We took him out and put him in our raspberry bushes, where I'm hoping he will live up to his name and eat gophers. Or, until he's a bit bigger, maybe he'll eat giant spiders. I'd keep in the house if he promised to eat the spiders. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

We Broker Her Heart. Now She knows We Won't Always Be There For Her. That's Good, Right?

In the very, very early hours of Wednesday morning, Drek decided that all of Alexa's sleeping problems are my fault. His decision was still firm Wednesday night, so he banished me to the front room to sleep on the couch, while he stayed in the bedroom and promised all of Alexa's night-time wakings would be gone in a week. He says his method isn't cry-it out, because Alexa will be a pack-and-play next to his bed and he will occasionally pat her back.

So I pushed the two couches together, snuggled up under a blanket and went to sleep. I slept until two in the morning, when I woke up from a horrible nightmare involving spiders. It was then that it clicked where I was sleeping: on the two couches where, just few months ago, I found several spider nest attached to the bottom. I was sleeping on the very same couch where, two years ago, I almost touched a gigantic wolf spider perched on the cushion. I was sleeping a few feet away from the space on the floor where, last month,  Drek found another gigantic wolf spider, and in tracking him down, found dozens of spider nests in our computer cords.

I am an arachnophobe. Sometimes I pretend I'm not, but at two in the morning, after a nightmare about spiders, my true fears surface and I find myself terrified. I freaked out over tickle, every shadow, every movement. I turned on the light and searched for spiders, sure they were everywhere, just out of sight. I turned the light back off and then hid under my blanket, sure they were sneaking in and crawling over my legs. I tried to sing myself songs to keep my mind from visualizing my nightmare, I tried clearing my head of any thoughts so I could fall asleep. Finally, at around five in the morning, I was able to doze off.

Thursday I was able to clean every inch of the floor, couches and walls with a rag soaked in peppermint oil. I washed my blanket with peppermint oil and will probably bathe in the stuff from now on. Thursday night I slept much better.

Drek reported that Alexa did, too; Which is very good, because after that I can't handle thinking about a tiny baby, all alone in a pack-and-play, thinking there is something very scary in every shadow, in every tickle, in every sound, and crying out for mama to come save her so she can fall asleep safely in her arms, only to have her never come, leaving that tiny baby alone to cry in terror. After going through a night in terror myself, I just can't handle the thought of Alexa going through any of that. She may not be an infant anymore, but at 16 months she's way too small  to get up the next day and clean the pack-and-play with something she knows will keep the scary things away. I guess that's why Drek thinks I am the problem.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Charity Never Faileth

I've been a Visiting Teacher to a women named Hazel for thee years (A visiting teacher is a calling in my church. As a visiting teacher I am assigned other women to visit every month, see if they or their families need anything, spiritually or temporally,  to pray for them and to leave them with a little spiritual message).  Some months I will drop off a message and a treat at her doorstep, most months I will invite her to a church activity, but I have never met her.  She does not come to church. She does not come to activities. She doesn't really want me coming over to visit her because she is so busy, but she does want a visiting teacher and after I left a few treats and messages on her doorstep for several months in a row, she texted me! We've been exchanging texts ever since.

Saturday we our Stake's July Jubilee, which, as far as I can tell, is our Stake's way of celebrating Pioneer Day. In any case, if you only to one Stake Activity all year, it should be the July Jubilee. Face painting, snowcones, and firetruck rides. Of course I texted Hazel to let her know about the even, and once again invited her to come, and once again repeated that I would love to see her.

IT WORKED! She came. She texted me right as the event started that her family was on its way. Having no idea what she looked I asked a person who did know her (her Home Teacher) to point her out. I didn't have to worry. As sson as she got there she found the bishop's wife and told her she was looking for her visiting teacher who she was so excited to finally meet. The bishop'd wife pointed me out and we finally met! After three years we finally met!

The next day, she texted me that she hoped she would see me at church sometime.

So THERE! Proof that visiting teaching actually works. And proof that if you don't have a testimony of an aspect of the gospel (for example, how for the last ten years I've thought visiting teaching is a waste of time) you simply have to obey, and you'll get a testimony.  Just another real life example of how trusting God is the way to bring yourself and other to happiness. Happiness and face painting, snowcones, and firetruck rides.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Young Women Personal Progress Breakfast

Young Women camp is this week. We met at eight in the morning pack up the cars, start off camp with a short devotional, and make sure the girls were all ready to go. 

I volunteered to be in charge of the breakfast. As Personal Progress Leader, I decided to make it a Personal Progress Young Women Breakfast! We had Young Women Value Parfaits! No cooking, and minimal prep work.

My budget was forty dollars for twelve girls and five leaders. 

Shopping list: 
1 jumbo cantaloupe
2 pineapples
3 baskets of strawberries
3 8oz containers of blueberries
1/2 bag purple seedless grapes
6 kiwis
1 container  Plain Greek Yogurt
1 bear of honey
1 pkg of napkins in each of the eight value colors
1 bag clear cups
1 box clear spoons

Total:= $38 

I also donated 2 gallons of milk (that the girls hardly touched), two jugs of fruit juice, and homemade granola.  

I printed off these value printables and taped them to mason jars.  I then cut up all the fruit and put them in the mason jars: 

I taped the Faith printout to the Yogurt container, and I put the Granola in the Virtue Mason Jar. I tried to think of a way to make Virtue honey instead of granola, but I did not have enough honey to fill a mason jar.  

The girls put the granola on the bottom of their cup, then piled on the fruit and topped it with yogurt and honey. The result was a delicious breakfast parfait in all the value colors! 

My devotional went something like this: 
When Ammon converted the Lamanites to the gospel he converted an entire generation of young women. These women were not born into the church and neither was anyone around them. They had no one more experienced in the Gospel to teach them, no written curriculum to follow. They learned everything by personal obedience, personal scripture study and personal prayer. They internalized the values of the gospel so much it left a lasting impression on their sons. When their homes were threatened, their sons rose up and formed an army of young, inexperienced boys to fight against whole armies of skilled warriors. They volunteered to fight because their mothers taught them that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them. Not a single one of these boys were killed in battle, and their army was a major factor in the war. Without them, the war would have been lost and the women's homes would have been destroyed. These women changed their sons, changed a war, and changed the world by truly becoming what the gospel teaches. We need to have that level of personal study. We need to take on the responsibility of our own Gospel education. Only God can teach us how to change the world, and only if we want to learn. That's why Personal Progress is PERSONAL. It's you and God, changing the world.

 The only thing we didn't have enough was the yogurt, but I think two containers would have been too much. We had two gallons of milk left over, most of the juice and only a little bit of each fruit. Of course we had lots of cups and spoons left over. I just packed them in a car heading for camp! The girls will use them before camp is done, I'm sure!

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Universe is Big. It’s Vast and Complicated and Ridiculous. And Sometimes, Very Rarely, Impossible Things Just Happen

On Friday my wonderful, globe-trotting friend came to visit Sunland. Time was short, so we decided to meet at a beach. She picked a beach I had never been to before and we decided to meet there at ten.

Apple maps (curse you Apple Maps! Was there ever a worse map created? Why won't Google Maps work on my phone?!) decided to take me to the wrong beach. Unfortunately, we didn't realize this until after several confusing phone calls. Since I had had already set up camp and had the two children with me, my friend, L, decided to come to me. As I was walking back up to my site to put my phone away, I met the gaze of the women who was camped out next to us. I recognized her immediately.

"K La?" She asked.

"Yolanda?" I answered.

We went to high school together. All the way back in HomeTown. We didn't know each other well, I couldn't even tell you what crowd she ran with, but we had a few classes together and obviously we knew each other well enough to remember names and faces ten years later.

Her family decided to vacation here in Sunland. Friday was their only beach day, and they picked a beach at random. They decided to set up their spot on the beach next to ours, of all the places. It's just so weird.

But her kids played with my kids and once L showed up we all talked and talked and talked.

It's always so good to catch up with L. We met in fourth grade and have been good friends ever since. Sometimes we don't see each other for years, but once we get together again we just pick right back up. It's wonderful.

We invited Yolanda and her family over to our house for dinner. They brought us a yummy desert and we had a wonderful evening talking and watching the kids play. She is the third person from high school I have randomly ran into out here in Sunland. You just don't think that your high school compadres will follow you across states to show on a random beach, but sometimes they do.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Now I know my ABCs

Today we picked up my younger sister from the airport. Because the airport is far away, and her flight was delayed, and we were there early anyway, we found a park in the city within fifteen minutes of the airport and settled down to enjoy the hours until her flight came in.

There was another family at the park. They had a girl Ash's age, a boy just older, and a girl just younger. The three of these adorable and polite children were being watched by an older sister. The three of them played with my two daughters and got along  like every mother's dream. Not just playing together, but laughing together, being nice together and playing fun and happy games together.

Their mother returned to the park and passed out snacks to her kids. While they were picnicking the four year oild girl came over to me and introduced herself. She told be her brother's name and her baby sister's name. She then asked me to guess her older sister's name. I rattled off a few random guesses, but she shook her head.

"I'll give you a clue. It starts with a "sh" sound.  I made a few more guesses. All wrong.

"How about my mom's name? Can you guess my mom's name?"

"What does it start with?"

"Uh, an "s".

"Sue? Sarah? Sally? Samantha?"

"No, it starts with a "S, T"

"Star? Stephanie?"

Esther. Her name is Esther. I discovered, after several minutes of guessing. I suppose that will teach me to play word games with a four-year-old.

I wish we could arrange more playdates with the family. They were idyllic. Sadly the drive is probably way too far. Maybe the next time we find ourselves waiting for hours for a plane to come in we can randomly meet them at the same park. Maybe then I can finally guess the older sister's name.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Sacrament Talk - Obedience

In my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the speakers are called from the congregation. They are usually given a topic and a few weeks to prepare and told a time limit. Usually on Sunday we have three or four speakers in addition to taking the Sacrament.

 I gave a talk today. My topic was a General Conference talk from April 2014 by Elder Robert D Hales entitled  "If Ye Love Me, Keep My Commandments." My time limit was 12-15 minutes.

I am not a public speaker. I enjoyed writing the talk but once I got up on the stand and looked out at all the people in the meeting, my heart raced, I couldn't catch my breath and I started to shake all over. During my talk I kept thinking my legs were going to give out under me, they were shaking so bad. But it's over. Thank goodness. And I suppose it went well. And since I put so much effort into it, I think I'll post it here on my blog:

We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.

That is the 3rd Article of Faith. Do we really believe that? Do we really believe that obedience is so critical?

Recently, my curious four year old daughter saw an image of a person drinking from a bottle. She wanted to know what the person was drinking. I answered “alcohol.” She responded: What’s alcohol? Can I have a drink of alcohol?

I pondered her question, not because I didn't know the answer, but because I didn't know how to answer her, a four year old.  How can I answer so that she not only has an understanding of what alcohol is, but why she shouldn't drink it? How do I answer her to give her a testimony of the Word of Wisdom?

Should I tell her the definition of alcohol?  Should explain the chemistry of alcoholic drinks? Should I tell her what happens to a person psychologically when they drink? Do I quote the symptoms of intoxication and alcohol poisoning? Should I warn her of the health ramifications of drinking? Do I try to frighten her with  drunk driving statistics?
Maybe I should stick to the scriptures. But how do I explain Doctrine and Covenants 89 to a four year old?  I would have a hard time explaining “evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days,” in language she can understand.

After reflecting on all of this for a moment, I decided to ignore her first question and simply answer her last question. “No. You may not drink alcohol.”

There is nothing I can say that would give a four year old a complete understanding of alcohol. No amount of explaining will convince her that she should never, ever drink.  I simply cannot give her a testimony of the Word of Wisdom in the short time I can keep her attention. .

Right now she needs to trust me.  She needs to trust that I know more than her about this topic, and that I am doing what is best for her. As time goes on, as she gains more understanding about the word around her,  I can talk with her about the facts, the numbers, and the effects. Once she has a little more life experience, I can explain more about the dangers. Maybe when her frontal lobe is fully developed we can discuss conspiring men in the last days. But none of that will change my final answer. The fact she is not ready for all the data does not change the data. The fact that she doesn't comprehend WHY she shouldn’t drink alcohol does not change the fact that she shouldn’t drink alcohol. She simply needs to trust me. She needs to trust me enough to obey me, and over time, as she learns and grows, she will gain her own understanding and her own testimony.

I know Heavenly Father is thinking the same thing about me. I know he wants to tell me all the answers to my many questions, but there is no way my young and undeveloped mind would be able to comprehend all his knowledge and experience.  I can ask, and he will tell me the answer I can understand, which, more often than not, is to trust him. To trust him enough to obey him, and as I grow, as I learn more, as I gain more experience, he will give me more: more details, more understanding, more testimony, but none of that will change his original answer.

Marjorie Hinckley, wife of Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley, said, “First I obey, then I understand.’”

“Obey” is a difficult word for me. When I hear it, I cringe. I rebel because when I hear the word “obey”  I think of “control.”  When I hear the word “obey” I think of being controlled for the benefit of the person I am obeying. When I obey men, I give up or restrict my agency.  

But With God, that is not the case. With God, obey is not synonymous with control, obey is synonymous with trust.  When I think of “trust” I think of following in faith for the benefit of me.  I know that trusting God is a choice. God gave us agency  so we can chose to trust him. When we choose to obey (or trust) God, we are choosing to keep our agency.

Do we trust God? God is the father of our spirits. He built our bodies. He created the world around us: everything from the oceans, to the food, to the stars. He knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows our potential and how we can reach it.. He knows when someone means us harm, or when someone needs help.

Moses 1:39 tells us why and what God does:  For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.

His intentions are pure. He wants what is best for us. He has the knowledge and experience to KNOW what is best for us.  So do we trust him?

If we trust him, we will do what he asks of us. He is telling us what to do not for his benefit, but for ours. He is not trying to control us, he is trying to bring to pass our eternal life.

Elder Robert D Hales gave a talk in this last conference entitled: “If Ye Love Me, Keep My Commandments”  In is he says quote: We must not practice “natural man’s obedience,” in which we disobediently reject God’s law in favor of our wisdom or our desires or even popularity.  end quote
This is not trusting in God. If we fully trust him, how can we ever chose to follow our own desires above his? How can we ever chose to obey a man over God the Father?

Elder Hales continues quote: At times members may participate in “selective obedience,” claiming to love God and honor God while picking and choosing which of His commandments and teachings—and the teachings and counsel of His prophets—they will fully follow. Some obey selectively because they cannot perceive all the reasons for a commandment, just as children do not always understand the reasons for their parents’ counsel and rules. End quote

This is not trust. Trust is turning our lives over to Heavenly Father. Trust is asking him to make us an instrument in his hands. Trust is following all his laws and all his commandments. Trust is seeking for personal revelation and following his promptings.

Back to Elder Hales: To rationalize disobedience does not change spiritual law or its consequences but leads to confusion, instability, wandering in strange paths, being lost, and grief. As disciples of Christ, we have a sacred obligation to uphold His laws and commandments and the covenants which we take upon ourselves

Using our agency to obey means choosing to “do what is right [and letting] the consequence follow.” It requires self-mastery and brings confidence, eternal happiness, and a sense of fulfillment to us and, by example, to those around us; and it always includes a deep personal commitment to sustain priesthood leaders and follow their teachings and counsel.

To summarize the consequences of obeying (or trusting) God are:  confidence, eternal happiness, and a sense of fulfillment to us and those around us.
Disobedience leads to  confusion, instability, wandering in strange paths, being lost, and grief.

I assume that is why God counsels us in the first place. He gives us laws  and commandments to protect us from unnecessary confusion, instability, wandering in strange paths, being lost, and grief. and to ensure we find confidence, happiness, and a sense of fulfillment in this life.  As Elder Hales points out, God’s commandments...were given for our good

The very act of obeying is a learning experience. The more me obey, the more we understand.

In the Book of Mormon, Sariah is an amazing example of trusting God.

Sariah is married to Lehi, a prophet. Lehi has a vision and tells his family they all need to leave Jerusalem. Sariah did not have this vision. She does not have all the knowledge of the history and reasons why Jerusalem will be destroyed. She does not know where she and her family will go after they leave their house and all their material possessions, but she obeys, She trusts God is telling them to do this for their own good. She loves God, so she chooses to obey Him. She leaves everything behind  and sets out into the desert.
While in the desert, away from all the comforts of home, Lehi announces that her four sons need to return to Jerusalem to get the Brass Plates from a very dangerous and wicked man. Sariah does not understand all the reasons why they need those scriptures. All she knows is that she trusts God knows what is best for her sons, so she chooses  to obey.

In 1st Nephi chapter 5 we read Sariah truly mourned because of us (meaning her sons). 2 For she had supposed that we had perished in the wilderness; and she also had complained against my father, telling him that he was a visionary man; saying: Behold thou hast led us forth from the land of our inheritance, and my sons are no more, and we perish in the wilderness.

What an example of faith! After choosing to give up her home, her possessions, her comforts and now her sons, Sariah still trusts God. Her doubts are in Lehi - She has no doubt God, In October 2013 Elder Uchtdorf gave a talk in General Conference in which he says quote:   I suppose the Church would be perfect only if it were run by perfect beings. God is perfect, and His doctrine is pure. But He works through us—His imperfect children—and imperfect people make mistakes. This is the way it has always been and will be until the perfect day when Christ Himself reigns personally upon the earth. End quote. Sariah knows this. Her trust in God is strong enough that when her doubts surface  she directs it the imperfect people in God’s church.
In response to her doubts, Lehi comforts her and bears his testimony to her.  In 1st Nephi we read:

"And when we had returned to the tent of my father, behold their joy was full, and my mother was comforted. And she spake, saying: Now I know of a surety that the Lord hath commanded my husband to flee into the wilderness; yea, and I also know of a surety that the Lord hath protected my sons, and delivered them out of the hands of Laban, and given them power whereby they could accomplish the thing which the Lord hath commanded them. And after this manner of language did she speak."

It isn't until her sons return alive, safe, and with the scriptures, that Sariah gains a witness for herself that God gave her husband the revelation. Until this point, she's been acting completely in faith! She didn’t have all the knowledge, she didn’t have a personal witness, but she trusted God and obeyed. Because she obeyed she was blessed with a testimony. She continues to obey God: She has two more sons in the wilderness, she gets on a boat built by her sons, and she sails across the sea to an unknown land where she helps build a new nation.  I’m sure after many, many years, she finally understood the importance of having the Brass Plates. Her knowledge and her testimony came after her obedience.

Elder Uchtdorf continues:  It’s natural to have questions—the acorn of honest inquiry has often sprouted and matured into a great oak of understanding. There are few members of the Church who, at one time or another, have not wrestled with serious or sensitive questions. One of the purposes of the Church is to nurture and cultivate the seed of faith—even in the sometimes sandy soil of doubt and uncertainty. Faith is to hope for things which are not seen but which are true.
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters—my dear friends—please, first doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith. We must never allow doubt to hold us prisoner and keep us from the divine love, peace, and gifts that come through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Going back to Elder Hales talk, he says:

In the premortal Council in Heaven, Lucifer rebelled against Heavenly Father’s plan. Those who followed Lucifer ended their eternal progression—be careful who you follow!

Did Lucifer and his followers understand the consequences of choosing to reject Heavenly Father’s plan? If so, why did they make such a terrible choice? We might ask ourselves a similar question: why do any of us choose to be disobedient when we know the eternal consequences of sin? The scriptures provide an answer: the reason Cain and some of the children of Adam and Eve chose to disobey is because “they loved Satan more than God.

Do we? Do we love Satan more than God? Do we trust Satan more than God? We need to make sure our actions align with our answers. We need to understand that with every choice we make we are obeying, it is just a question of obeying God or Satan. When we say we don’t want to follow a God’s counsel, we are choosing instead to obey Satan. We are saying we trust Satan, who is trying to control and manipulate us for his own purposes, over God, who is trying to counsel us to bring to pass our eternal happiness. We are saying we love Satan more than God.

Elder Hales continues:
Spiritually mature obedience is “the Savior’s obedience.” It is motivated by true love for Heavenly Father and His Son.  Our love of the Savior is the key to Savior-like obedience.

Our Savior, Jesus Christ, trusted our Heavenly Father. In the Premortal life he said: “Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever. This was his commitment to obey God. Throughout His ministry, “he suffered temptations but gave [them] no heed.” Indeed, “he [learned] obedience by the things which he suffered.”

He was baptized, even though reason suggested that he had no need to be baptized because he had no sins. However, he trusted God more than he trusted reason. He loved God, and so, he obeyed the commandment to be baptized.

When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, He prayed three times to His Father in Heaven, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” Again, he trusted God more than himself. He trusted that obeying God in this way would be for his benefit, as well as ours. He trusted God was asking him to go through this pain for both his and our eternal happiness. He trusted God. He loved God, and so, he obeyed God.

Elder Hales says quote:
Because our Savior was obedient, He atoned for our sins, making possible our resurrection and preparing the way for us to return to our Heavenly Father. When we obey, we accept His sacrifice, for we believe that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws, ordinances, and commandments given in the gospel.  

Brothers and sisters, I bear my testimony that God loves us. Everything he asks us to do is for our good. Trusting in him brings happiness into our lives and into our families. It’s okay that we don’t have to have all the answers right now, we don’t need the answers, we only need trust. The answers will come in time.  I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.