I have been dying to get a forget me not necklace! I have a forget-me-not charm bracelet, but I need the necklace too! And now Ringmasters (LDS Jewelry) is having a give-away in which I could win one (as well as a lovely gift certificate). The forget-me-not is such a powerful reminder that I still need on a daily basis about President Uchtdorf’s General Relief Society talk last October. I need that powerful visual reminder that keeps on giving. I just worry my bracelet will break since I wear it every day. A necklace seems much less likely to break.

I want that necklace. I want the gift certificate too! I want a CTR ring to remind me to choose the right.

Link to the online store: http://www.ShopRingmasters.com


Link to the give-away:

http://shopringmasters.com/article/june-giveaway-worth-34-95
 

PSA

05/23/2012

1 Comment

 
So there is the is really cool place to get LDS themed Jewelry and they preidoically do some cool give aways - especially right now with their 25th anniversary.

LDS Jewelry Current Giveaway

The actual online store

Facebook Page

I really like what they have. I am eager for a CTR ring and a CTR ring in German. (:
 
 
General Conference was a good experience and I need to talk about a few addresses that really struck me. (And I remember that I still need to discuss addresses from October's conference still. Sigh!)

The main thing holding me back from talking about conference is that I can't shake the deep disappointment I feel because Elder Bednar did not give a talk during any of the general sessions. He spoke at the priesthood session, but usually the Apostle who speaks at the priesthood session still speaks in the general session.

Conference was really great but this sadness is keeping me from fully appreciating it right now. I guess I was super excited to hear from him after the great help his book (or, more specifically, following the counsel in his book) had given me. (And I still need to talk about that huge obstacle I overcame because I followed Elder Bednar's counsel!)

I was eagerly looking forward to more teaching and edification from him.

So yes.  Talks to discuss still:

A Time to Prepare by Elder Ian S. Ardern from October 2011 conference
It is Better to Look Up by Elder Carl B. Cook from October 2011 conference
President Eyring's talk from the Saturday morning session (March 31)
President Uchtdorf's talk from the Sunday morning session (April 1)
President Monson's main address during the Sunday morning session April 1)

And I'm sure there is at least one more.

Hopefully I'll get these all done during the week.
 
 
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Increase In Learning - Spiritual Patterns For Obtaining Your Own Answers by David A. Bednar
Increase In Learning - Spiritual Patterns For Obtaining Your Own Answers  by David A. Bednar

This is a book that needs to be studied and applied to life to be of true worthwhile. So I have been studying. I have also been participating in an online book club discussion about the book sponsored by Deseret Books. Each time I read the section up next for discussion with the online book club, I end up taking more notes even though my only intent has been to just refresh the week's topic of discussion. I suspect that though I will soon be indicating I've read/studied the last page of this book, I will not be done with it for quite some time as this book is continually giving me more food for thought. The online book club discussion is also giving me more food for thought and more incentive and need to go back through the book again.

I am not exaggerating when I say this book - or rather following Elder Bednar's counsels in this book - have been trully life-changing. With Elder Bednar's help, I've been broken through something I've been struggling with for nearly a year. I do not think I can ever thank Elder Bednar enough.

I am reading this at the same time I am using the Deseret Bookshelf version.

View all my reviews
 
 
I am not sure what happened. I don't know why it's been so long since I wrote a blog entry. My bad.

Since last I wrote, I have come to the conclusion that both President Uchtdorf and Elder Bednar are in my head. I wonder if they will ever get out.

President Uchtdorf has been there for I don't know how long. All I know is whenever he gives an address at General Conference it is exactly what I needed to hear. Also 99.9% of the time his first presidency message in the Ensign is also what I needed right at that moment.

I didn't think that so much when it came to Elder Bednar, but it turns out I was wrong. His talk from General Conference in October struck a chord with within a week and has sent me on a journey to get my family history work done and get the names submitted to the temple for ordinances. It didn't really speak to me so much on the day he gave that address but it turns out I wasn't listening withe right ears so now I can say Elder Bednar has been in my head since the April general conference (2011).

The biggest indication that Elder Bednar is in my head, though, is that just as I was 1) seriously planning a return to school (via online degree program) and 2) I was wondering why the spiritual progress I had been making in leaps and bounds had suddenly all but stopped, out came his book "Increase in Learning: spiritual patterns for obtaining your own answers" Wow! This book was totally written for me! This book has caused so many epiphanies that I can hardly keep up with them.

The book has also given me a new mantra: "Endowed with agency we are agents, and we are primarily to act and not simply be acted upon." Though I will reword it so it's not a word-for-word repeat of his words. I think I may have it, though it may still be an exact quote. I am an agent with the capacity and power to act and not merely an object to be acted upon.

I think I had stopped acting and that is why my spiritual progress slowed down. Things are getting better and I am more motivated and yearning to learn more as I've been studying this book.

Deseret Books is holding a weekly online discussion on this book that is very interesting. It's great to see other people's insights on Elder Bednar's words. (Anyone interested at 1:00 pm Mountain Standard Time every Wednesday through March 21 at seek.deseretbook.com/learning. You have to scroll down to find Emily Watts' start of the discussion and refresh your screen to see all of the comments, but it was worth it. I cannot wait for next week's discussion. This week was chapter 1 and the questions he gives us to ponder. Next week is the related reading material for chapter 1. I am excited about this and can hardly wait for next week's discussion.

So this has me wondering if Elder Ardern and Elder Carl B. Cook are now in my head, since the general authorities seem to start their stay in my head by giving an address on something I trully needed to hear at that point.

And I really do need to write about my feelings and thoughts on the talks of the latter to general authorities. I am starting to master my time, somewhat. I have to if I am going to be attending online classes to get a degree. I have a doable schedule, I think, but I won't really know until I actually start the classes to see if I've allotted enough time for school work. I am trying to live by that schedule now but I have slipped a little. Partly because I did not anticipate that I would join the woman's basketball team at church.

Also I've been having a hard time getting to work early, but I believe I'm back on track with that now.

Mostly at this point, while I wait to see if my schooling plan will come together as I hope, I will be spending a lot of time studying Elder Bednar's book. (And re-reading and studying over and over again.) I am using the Gospel Library App, which allows me to get my online study notebook, to record my notes and thoughts and such. It's very handy actually. So this book has me all excited.

I am just facing the possibility of not being able to start classes when I had hoped, unless I go to plan B and start at another college and have those credits transferred to the school I really want to "attend". The problem is none of the other schools had disciplines that were in line with what i am looking for so I don't know what classes I could take that would be helpful for the other school.

I don't know. I'll have to start really pouring my heart out to Heavenly Father and more earnestly seek the company of the Holy Ghost to help me figure this all out.

It doesn't help that instead of waiting until next year to move to Salt Lake City and hopefully work for the church, that I'd really, really prefer to do it near the end of this year. Again, I have to do it in the Lord's time. I just don't know what His time is yet. I need to find out - especially since I'll have to make a decision about a lease for my apartment by March 1.

So I need to more earnestly apply the principles Elder Bednar is teaching in his book.

I highly recommend that everyone get this book. It is that fabulous and that helpful. Again it's "Increase in Learning: spiritual patterns for you obtaining your own answers. It's available from Deseret Books. You can get the Deseret bookshelf version, the actual book or the kindle version. I don't know if you can stream the videos (which to me are an essential part of cementing the principles Elder Bednar is teaching) on the Kindle Fire. I know, from comments at seek.deseretbook.com/learning that you can't on the older kindles.

So go forth and buy this book. I doubt you will be disappointed!

(And hopefully this weekend I will write my entries on "A Time to Prepare" (Elder Ardern's address) and "It is Better to Look UP" (Elder Carl B. Cook's address.
 
 
Note: This is copy and pasted from my Facebook Note I wrote yesterday - which is actually a day earlier than President Uchtdorf's birthday. I try to limit my Facebook time on Sundays so I didn't want to write it today.

Last year, on this date, several of us Latter-Day Saints (a.k.a. Mormons) shared our testimonies in honor of President Uchtdorf's 70th birthday.

That was a very difficult thing for me to do. (And I didn't share it with ALL of my FB connections.) I figured it was just because by this time last year, I'd only been active in the church again for about 2 months.

I've come an extremely long way since then. I am not the person I was 1 year ago. I've grown so much spiritually. I made much greater progress in a much faster time frame than I ever thought possible. I still don't recognize the two people (who I was then and who I am now) as being related to each other in any way.

I am doing the things we've been counseled to do by our church leaders better than I ever did before. I am so active now in so many aspects of the Gospel. (And more of them at the same time than ever before.)

I could not have come to the place and person I am now without the great support of a wonderful ward (congregation) family. I also could not have come this far if I did not have faith to just do things I felt my Heavenly Father wanted me to do, even if I didn't feel ready to do so. (I'm not even adding any filter/restrictions/privacy settings to this note.)

I've grown and changed so much - except in one thing. Bearing my testimony is still very difficult. Actually, in the regards of bearing a testimony I seemed to have fallen several steps back. Right now I don't even feel like I can bear my testimony. I have one; I know I do. It is there as sure as I am writing this note, but it's locked or blocked or both. I've been struggling now for nearly 5 months to set this testimony free without success.

I am frustrated. I do not understand. How can I have made all the huge changes in my life and made the great growth that I have but it now be nigh unto impossible for me to bear my testimony. There have been a few times I've wanted to do it in the last few months, but nothing happened.

I do not know what to do about that. I wish there was  some magic potion to fix this. I've prayed about it. I've fasted about it. I've tried to find advice in the scriptures and in the words of our leaders about it, but have not been able to unlock it - let alone figure out why it's locked up.

And now it is President Uchtdorf's 71st birthday. If he knew about my attempt last year, I would feel that I had let him down this year.

I definitely feel I've let myself down and I don't know how to pick this part of my life back up.

I do still want to say "Happy birthday President Uchtdorf!"

I hope and pray that by his 72nd birthday, I've found the answer and set my testimony free.

Note 2: Shortly after I posted the note, a good friend I've had since 8th grade posted the following on my wall (I don't believe any further explanation is needed on this one):

 
 
Through the priesthood bleesing I received the day my uncle died and the trip to the temple I made before the funeral, I found great comfort and calm. I handled this funeral far better than I have any other funerals of late.

(Disclaimer: The some of the following is by no means doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)

As I left work on Thursday, one of my coworkers told me to imagine my uncle up there playing the harp. I instantly replied, "Nah. He's playing golf!"

My uncle had been an advid golf player before the Huntington's Disease took over his body. The image of my uncle playing golf on some Heavenly golf course still brings smile to my face.

Then my cousins reminded me he also had played softball. So now the image of him starting a softball league also makes me smile.

The day of his funeral, I had another image. I imagined that as soon as his spirit separated from his body that he started jumping up and down dancing a jig (or maybe the Hokey Pokey?) because he finally had control over his body (albeit a spirit body) once more.

One thing though, the man in the casket looked nothing like my uncle as I last saw him. He was ashen and very thin. His once dark hair with male pattern baldness was almost all gone and what hair left was grey. He also did not have the "horseshoe" mustache he had as long as I can remember. But now he is whole again. I hope he has that mustache when I get to meet him.

I belive the blessing, the temple trip and these happy/fun images really helped me handle this funeral. I shed no tears at the funeral even though I do miss him.

His brother-in-law, a minister or preacher, led the funeral service. It was short and sweet with him asking us to share fun stories about my uncle. That also helped.

I did not shed any tears until the graveside services, but then they were only relatively few. At the point, it became a bit more final, even though I know my uncle is on the other side of the veil and whole once more.

One thing that is always interesting about funerals is all the family member whom you have seen in ages hugging and saying, "It's so nice to see you." One person that ws definitely great to see was a cousin - son by my uncle's first marriage. He and I both agreed that our happiest childhood memories were playing together on Saturday's when we went to visit our grandparents. He had been my best friend and almost like a brother (being much closer in age to me than either of my brothers.) It was good to meet up and now we will be able to keep in touch once more.

Out of the unhappy, sometimes comes the happy. Happy that my uncle is now whole and happy once more. Happy to reconnect with a cousin from whom I was separated so many years ago because his mother didn't want him spending the summer with his father. Happy that we both feel the same way about the times we did have together. Also happy to finally have met his wife.

So the peace continues. I thank my Heavenly Father for sending the Holy Ghost to comfort me and give me peace. I am also so very thankful for the Plan of Salvation.

"All is well. All is well." (Come, Come Ye Saints, The Church of Jesus Chirst of Latter-Day Saints hymn Book)
 
 
Things have been rough for me since last night.

Let me warn you up front. I am very tenderhearted and sensitive.

At around 17:00, my mother called to tell my my 65-year old uncle was in the hospital with some (virulent) form of pneumonia and was not expected to make it through the night.

I made the mistake of turning the news on at 18:00 just to find out that Dan Wheldon had died in a horrific car crash while racing in Las Vegas. Then I saw the racers tributes and started losing control. I totally lost control when they played Amazing Grace on the bagpipes over the intercom system at the track during the tribute.

Barely under control, my cell phone rang again. I knew who it was and what they were going to say without looking at the phone.

Around 18:30 my mother called to tell me my uncle had died.

He had Huntington's Disease and had declined to the state of total incapacitation - except that he was cognitive of what was going on around him.

My aunt had put him in a nursing home last month. On Saturday she sent an e-mail update. Apparently no one had been to visit him and she made an impassioned plea for us to go see him at least once. I wanted to see him one more time. I was trying to work out when and how since he was so far away from me and in a part of the DC area that I am extremely uncomfortable driving (to the point of panic attacks) but I wanted to see him.

Obviously that did not happen.

In addition to grief, I felt guilt because I had not gone to visit him before he passed.

Three things helping me through are:

I read a talk by Elder David A Bednar titled The Tender Mercies of the Lord.

I received a priesthood blessing of comfort after that. (Then i read the talk again.)

Our Heavenly Father's Plan - especially the promise that "We Can Live with God Again" so some day I will see my uncle again.

Actually, there is another thing that helped. My uncle is back to his normal self now. He is no longer incapacitated.

It almost seems ironic (but there are no coincidences when it comes to the ways of the Lord) that my sudden passion to do family history work came when it did.

I need to contemplate whether or not to share my testimony about our Heavenly Father's plan with my aunt (who is not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints). And if so, I need to pray for the Holy Ghost to guide me as I write her (and my cousin still living with her) about it.

In the meantime, I have a funeral to attend on Friday night and graveside services to attend Saturday morning.

I was sobbing like child last night. I was in and out of tears at work until I had enough focus to do some tasks waiting for me. And though I am not distracted now, I am feeling at peace.

My uncle is well. He's happy to be normal again. The Lord has sent me His peace.

I'm sure there will be more tears in the coming days, but I will still have His peace.
 
 
Not too long ago, with a help of a good friend, I found a site where one can volunteer his or her technology knowledge to help the church (The explanation is here). I was already volunteering for the Vineyard Project, and I had heard of volunteer opportunities with technology. I just had never gone around to investigating.

So among the projects is one with the LDS Tech Blog. I am now a writer for the blog. My first article was published just before General Conference,  about interacting online as a member missionary. (If interested, you can find it here.)

To my great surprise, the Deseret News wrote about this very entry on Monday (October 10), linking to the article and recommending it as a good how-to source.

I was floored. I am also happy that I am getting one of the desires of my heart, I hope, and inspiring people around me. The reporter quoted a part of my article (in which I included a link to this blog), to my even greater surprise.

So now, I feel I have to keep writing blog entries - even with it being hard to express these things lately.

This may be a case of being careful about what I [pray] for, as I also wanted more traffic to this blog.

I will do my best though. That's all I can do.
 
 
Followup to "Malachi 4: 5-6"

I did meet with my bishop on Tuesday. I did tell him I want to help out with the family history program. He was very happy and asked if I'd even be willing to hold a class with the youth soon. He wants them to have names of their ancestors to take to the temple when they do baptisms (and confirmations) for the dead.

There is some irony here though. (And not just the fact that pubic speaking still triggers some level of a panic attack.) I mentioned Elder Ian S. Ardern's talk "A Time to Prepare" wherein he counsels us about the wise use of our time and expressed concern that today's technology is leading too many people to be busy but not productive - having time master us instead as it should be, we mastering our time.

Since "The Hearts of the Children Shall Turn," each time I go to the church websites for family history, I end up spending many hours looking around for my ancestors and seeing what other features there are of the site.  Though I need to do so if I am to help others in my congregation (ward) use the technology, I don' think Elder Ardern meant that it was OK to spend hours upon hours upon hours even on something of worth pursuit as family history.

Yet I am so excited to see these tools and eager to pick up where the younger of my 2 brothers has left off. Speaking of which, I need to ask him for at least copies of the family trees he created back in the days before these things were done via technology, so that I can build my tree and see about getting names ready for submission to the temple. It would be so neat if some of the youth did the baptisms and confirmations for them.

There are other things of that matter more that I need to work on. I am struggling to find out which ones I should focus on first and then fit them into a schedule that I must create so that I don't spend my entire evening internet city building. (I do not do internet farming and I do not fling angry birds into concrete walls to waste my time. It's city building thing that does it.)

Still, the fire remains lit. I want to do my family history and I want to help the youth and adults in my ward (or even stake if need by) do their family history with the wonderful technology the church has for this worthy pursuit.

I just need the Lord's help to know what it is I should do and say in this pursuit.

(Full entries on the "A Time to Prepare" and "It is Better to Look Up" still coming.)