Tuesday, January 24, 2012
To preface how much my tender mercy meant meant to me, I have to first address the “M” word. You know what that is? Money. This can be a touchy subject sometimes, depending on the amount of money people earn or wish they earned. Landon is a teacher. I am a stay-home mother. We have to carefully budget every penny we have. This is not a complaint; this is a lifestyle we choose and I know we are far better off than most of the world. I am grateful for what we have. However, if you ever want to complain that teachers are unappreciated and underpaid, I will be a great listener!
One night Landon and I stayed up late anxiously discussing financial issues. More specifically, how to either make more money or save more money because it keeps running out. Funny how that happens. We decided we wanted to pay more money toward our mortgage too, but where do we take the money from?
The morning after Landon and I talked, I decided to read my scriptures before our girls woke up. I sat in bed, opened my scriptures to a random page, looked down at a verse, and this is what it said:
“Concern not yourselves about your debts, for I will give you power to pay them”. D&C 111: 5.
Bam! A tender mercy! I know Heavenly Father answers our prayers, but I was not expecting an answer and peace of mind so quickly. I do not believe I “accidently” opened my scriptures to that page and just “happened” upon that verse. I think an angel was guiding my hands and my eyes. I think angels are all around us, guiding our lives in ways we never know. The Lord is helping us in ways we might not even recognize.
Although this scripture was given to Joseph Smith in 1836, I know Heavenly Father meant for me to see that scripture on that morning. I know He is aware of our needs. As long as we remain faithful, keeping our covenants and paying our tithing, he will bless us spiritually, emotionally, physically, and financially.
Do you have a tender mercy to share?
Thursday, January 12, 2012
We arrived at the orchard and gazed at the endless rows of peach trees. The workers passed out ladders and taught us about pruning. The excess peaches needed to be picked so the tree could support the fruit still left on the branches. One inch needed to be left between remaining peaches to allow each to grow bigger. Peaches also need to be pruned to allow sunlight to reach the twigs. New peach twigs can be killed in just one growing season by too much shading.
As I stood atop the ladder picking the hard, green peaches, I felt that I was wasting perfectly good peaches! I watched them fall to the ground and wondered if they would have flourished had I left them on the branch. It was then that I realized the lesson Heavenly Father was trying to teach me.
When we fill our lives with too many activities, no matter how good they are, we risk stunting our spiritual growth. So many wonderful opportunities are available to us, but at what cost? Just as the excess peaches needed to be pruned in order for the others to flourish, we need to wisely choose what activities will occupy our time so the ones we keep will blossom. Elder Dallin H. Oaks taught, “We have to forego some good things in order to choose others that are better or best because they develop faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and strengthen our families” (Good, Better, Best, October 2007 General Conference).
Too many peaches will weaken the branch; I have felt this in my own life. When I overschedule myself, I feel discouraged and unable to accomplish all that is required of me. Unfortunately, my family suffers because I cannot give them the attention they deserve. The scriptures contain counsel on this matter. King Benjamin taught the Nephites, “And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order” (Mosiah 4: 27).
I have also realized just as too much shade can destroy the peach twigs, spiritual darkness can weaken my testimony. This happens when I neglect personal scripture study and prayer. Peach twigs need the light of the sun to help them grow; I need the light of the Son to help me grow. I know as I trust in the Lord, he will guide me to select the opportunities that strengthen my testimony and my family.
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
I love many of the movies you produce, especially the inspirational (i.e. The Help) and the clean romantic comedies (Penelope, anyone?). I admire that your actors/actresses raise money to help people in poverty around the world. Thank you for songs that are fun to listen to while I clean the house or dance with my daughters. However, Hollywood, I have some issues. I'll talk - you listen.
What's up with your definition of beauty? Sure, the women on the cover of magazines are beautiful, even without the Photoshop work done on every image, but are you so narrow that you leave out the other 99% of females that are not a size 0? Do you really think women have to have a tiny waist with large breasts and perfectly-straight bleached teeth and expertly highlighted hair to be beautiful? I do not agree. I think a beautiful woman is intelligent, kind, strong, and selfless. Come meet my friends and you will agree. Since I was little, I have been taught that every woman is a daughter of God. That means we have divine worth, whether the scale reads 115 pounds or 210 pounds. You should check out Beauty Redefined. I have joined their fight to take back beauty.
Here's another issue. I love to workout to songs with a great beat, but how many songs do we really need about going to a club, getting drunk while rocking the dance floor, then finding a sexy one-night stand to go home with? Katy, Usher, Gaga - I know you are talented singers, but can you broaden your lyrics to make a song of substance? Despite what you may believe, women are much more than sexual objects to be used for male gratification. I don't know what's worse - a man singing about using a woman or a woman singing about being used! When I first heard Party Rock Anthem by LMFAO, I thought, "This song is awesome!" Then I read the lyrics: "Yo, I'm runnin' through these ho's like Drano." Are you KIDDING me? I have two daughters. If a man ever refers to them as ho's to be run through, he'll be running alright. Running away from me as I chase him down!
And while I'm on the subject, can you produce more romantic comedies without premarital sex? Can you back off the swearing? Can you reduce the gore and violence? If this is about money, did you know that PG-rated movies make more money than R-rated movies? Also, let's tackle those Photoshopped magazines I referred to earlier that clutter every checkout stand in America. Can you discuss more in your magazines than expert sex techniques and celebrity gossip?
I just wanted to tell you that I refuse to acquiesce my moral agency to your immoral standards. I will walk out of the theater. I will delete the offensive song. I will close the magazine. Most importantly, I will teach my daughters their true beauty and worth, despite your attacks to distort their perceptions.
Monday, January 9, 2012
I am tired. Why? I am a mommy. I change my clothes as often as I change my daughter's diapers as one outfit after another is stained with food from messy hands and poop. I would love to go shopping for bags of new clothes, but lately the only bags I carry are the ones under my eyes! I can tell you more about Elmo's world than Obama's policies. Time for just my husband and I must come late at night after our toddlers fall asleep or early in the morning before they wake up, and only if we are not completely exhausted. The laundry piles up, the dishes pile up, the bills pile up, and some days my tears pile up and I just cannot laugh them off. Do you know what I mean?
But I am happy. Why? I am a mommy. I make a difference in the world! I get to spend every day with the people I love most. I feel peace when I lay my head on my pillow at night - next to my incredibly handsome husband - because I know I am following the Lord's plan for my life. I get all the smiles, kisses, snuggles, and hugs I could ever want. I get to relive my childhood, play dolls, and go to the park. I watch my girls grow and learn and every day I learn a little more from them about unconditional love, patience, kindness, forgiveness, service . . . and how to be an incredibly awesome multi-tasker!
Our first daughter was born just four months after we graduated from college and we were rich in love, but poor in money. We made sacrifices to have her, but it is no sacrifice to give up other dreams because I want to be a mommy even more! I know as I trust in the Lord, He will guide my paths as I raise these beautiful spirits (Proverbs 3:5-6). They are His children too. I would not trade these early years of motherhood for anything and treasure each day as a blessing. So bring on the poopy diapers! Although for the sake of my wardrobe, I need to run to Wal-Mart and buy a plastic poncho to wear tomorrow. . .
So here is some straight-up Emily: