Why Barefoot??

Because being barefoot to me is being raw. Feeling every sharp rock, lush clover, spiky thistle, cushioned blade of grass, slimy covered stones, fragrant feathered flowers, cereal of sand, bead of water, element of litter, and the mash of mud.

Being Barefoot is the promise of prancing in the moonlight, leaping in the waves, running through a meadow, dancing on the porch, and doing all this while enduring a long journey to the end.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Church Talk on Agency July 2011

I first have a challenge for all of you, go home today and prepare a talk on agency. It doesn’t matter that you never give it, write it in a journal, put it on your blog. The amount of information, or talks given on agency in the last 10 years is absolutely astounding to me. It gave me goosebumps as I browsed through the information in preparation for this talk. It seems that we are being heavily reminded about the gift, power, and responsibility of our agency as children of God.

So the first thing is our gift of agency that we received from our Heavenly Father and older brother Jesus Christ. I call it a gift because it has been brought and paid for with the heavy price of first Gethsemone and finally on the cross at Golgotha.

Pres David O. McKay said:

“Next to the bestowal of life itself, the right to direct that life is God’s greatest gift to man.”

This gift was decided upon in our premortal life. We have already heard this month about the War in Heaven so I will only touch briefly on it. But it is crazy to me, when you think about it, HEAVEN. As far as we know there was only one war, and that war was “primarily over how and in what manner the plan of salvation would be administered to the forthcoming human family upon the earth. The issues involved such things as agency, how to gain salvation, and who should be the Redeemer.” (Bible dictionary) This was important enough to destroy our Heavenly Peace with a War. This gift was important enough for our Heavenly Father to cast out 1/3 of his children, so the rest of us could have it. And so it is that Agency the ability and privilege God gives us to choose and to act for ourselves and not be acted upon. Is essential to the plan of salvation with it we are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death according to the captivity and power of the devil. (Elder Robert D. Hales)

I have a testimony of the gift of agency. That testimony has been tremendously strengthened over the last two years of my life as I have used it to help myself become healthier through weight loss. I testify that there was a war in heaven,and that The warfare is continued in mortality in the conflict between right and wrong, between the gospel and false principles, etc. The same contestants and the same issues are doing battle, and the same salvation is at stake.

Satan has developed tools of addiction of every kind to try and remove agency from our lives. I am so grateful that my eyes have been opened and I can see my fight a little more clearly.

Which brings me to the power of agency. Pres. Boyd K. Packer related the following.

The old saying “The Lord is voting for me, and Lucifer is voting against me, but it is my vote that counts” describes a doctrinal certainty that our agency is more powerful than the adversary’s will. Agency is precious. We can foolishly, blindly give it away, but it cannot be forcibly taken from us.

One way we can give away our agency is to not have our desires in line with our eternal persepctive.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks stated:

Desires dictate our priorities, priorities shape our choices, and choices determine our actions. The desires we act on determine our changing, our achieving, and our becoming.

Elder Richard G. Scott put it this way:

We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become each day.

Using our agency everyday, to meditate on scriptures, to focus our desires on our health, family, church responsibilities, and fulfilling our mission here on earth gives us a power to thwart the devils temptations.

Again Elder Scott says

“You cannot be passive in life or in time the natural man will undermine your efforts to live worthily. You become what you do and what you think about.”

In Pres Mckay’s book “Man may know for Himself” is found one of my favourite quotes.

“Every man and every person who lives in this world wields an influence, whether for good or for evil. It is not what he says alone; it is not alone what he does. It is what he is. Every man, every person radiates what he or she really is. . . . It is what we are and what we radiate that affects the people around us.

He then continues to encourage us.

“As individuals, we must think nobler thoughts. We must not encourage vile thoughts or low aspirations. We shall radiate them if we do. If we think noble thoughts; if we encourage and cherish noble aspirations, there will be that radiation when we meet people, especially when we associate with them.’ (Man May Know for Himself, p. 108.)

Maybe all of us need to consider for a while today what exactly our influence is? This of course where our agency steps in we all have influence but how are we using it. I hope it is one of love, of positive reinforcement, one of forgiveness, one of humility for what my Heavenly Father has given to me. That is my desire.

Back again to Elder Oakes

“When we have a vision of what we can become, our desire and our power to act increase enormously. If our righteous desires are sufficiently intense they will motivate us to cut and carve ourselves free from addictions and other sinful pressures and priorities that prevent our eternal progress. We should remember that righteous desires cannot be superficial, impulsive or temporary. They must be heartfelt, unwavering and permanent.”

I have a testimony of the power of agency, just like David hurled his stones at Goliath to defeat him we to can hurl our righteous desires in Satan’s face to ultimately defeat him.

And that brings us to the responsibility of agency.

Pres. Monson said:

“with the right of choice come the responsibility to choose. We cannot be neutral; there is no middle ground.”

I have to remind myself quite often that we are not here on earth for Recess. We are in the exam room. We are being tested. So ultimately life is hard. So what I have decided is that we get to choose our hard. Being a member of this church is hard, chances are if your here long enough you will be throughly offended, hurt, and even sometimes ignored.

But as Elder Neil L. Anderson put it

“The Lord said ‘Thou mayest choose for thyself.’ I promise you, as you choose not to be offended or ashamed, you will feel His love and approval. You will know that you are becoming more like Him.

Will we understand everything? Of course not. We will put some issues on the shelf to be understood at a later time.

Will everything be fair? It will not. We will accept some things we cannot fix and forgive others when it hurts. Will we feel separated on occasion from those around us? Absolutely. Will we be astonished at the times to see the anger a few feel toward the Lord’s church and their efforts to steal the struggling faith of the weak? Yes, but this will not deter the growth or destiny of the Church , nor need it impede the spiritual progress of each of us as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

I have a testimony that we can use our agency to react to all of life situations. I wake up every morning and choose to be happy. Sometimes I have to make that choice every five minutes in the morning, and sometimes I forget that I made that choice, but I know that happiness and peace is a choice that I can make. So we all have a responsibility to choose our hard. Being happy is hard, being grumpy is hard, forgiving people is hard, holding a grudge is hard. So choose your hard. As we do this our character is built.

Elder Richard G. Scott said:

“Strong moral character results from consistent correct choices in the trials and testing of life. Such choices are made with trust in things that are believed and when acted upon are confirmed...

He continues.

With even your strongest faith, God will not always reward you immediately according to your desires. Rather, God will respond with what is His eternal plan is best for you, when it will yield the greatest advantage. Be thankful that sometimes God lets you struggle for a long time before that answer comes. That causes your faith to increase and your character to grow.”

I now am so grateful for the gift, power, and responsibility of agency. It was not always so, I remember being a little girl and thinking “ really satan’s plan was that everybody got back that doesn’t seem so bad.” But I think President Monson put it best. When he said;

“We know that we had our agency before this world was and that Lucifer attempted to take it away from us. he had no confidence in the principle of agency or in us and argued for imposed salvation. He insisted that with his plan none would be lost, but he seemed not to recognize - or perhaps not to care - that in addition, none would be any wiser, any stronger, any more compassionate, or any more grateful if his plan were followed.”

Oh I am overwhelmed at the love that my Heavenly Father has for me, that would put a plan in place so that I can become wiser, stronger, be filled with more compassion and become eternally grateful for all of His gifts to me. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.



(Remember to click on the highlighted versions to see where the sources are)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Dear Self

I am writing to tell you that I forgive you!
Yes I forgive you for
*the hotdogs
*the smores
*the cake
*the muffins
*the licorice
*the granola bars
*the ice cream
*the chocolate chips
*the cup cakes
*the lack of food journaling
and even
* the extra five pounds
I understand that you are stressed about a lot of things. I understand that you are trying to "enjoy" your summer. I want you to remember and know that I love you! I want you to know and remember that you are a daughter of God, and because of this you always have his power, love and ability to repent with you! Remember to be nice to yourself, remember to treat yourself the way you treat others including your children. Remember you are important. Remember:
The power behind you is greater than the problem in front of you.
Get up and get back on! You can do this, and remember that you want to do this! Please help yourself, your the only one that can. Keep asking your Heavenly Father to help you. He has helped us in the past and He will help us again. We can do this! We will do this! We are doing this! Love you so much!

Monday, July 4, 2011

It has been a busy month....

So maybe these will explain why I haven't been posting very often.

Started a new tradition picked up the kids and went hiking on the last day of school. We had a blast.

Ran the Cardston Kids Marathon with all of my children. So fun and such a great party. Click on the name to find out more.

Went hiking up "Bear's Hump" as a whole family, I carried most of the water in my back pack. Wasn't even tired felt like I could have done it three more times. That has never happened in my life. I feel stronger than ever.

Went camping in Waterton with 3 out of my 5 siblings to celebrate our wonderful Country. I love living in Canada.

Training is going good, I had a hard, 12 mile run last saturday, but I finished it. I will run farther than I have every ran before this Saturday, 14 miles. Wow! I am deliciously excited.

I am a little frustrated that I am back up to 177. I have been there since April, but really I am too excited about the rest of my life to focus on not losing weight right now. I know that if I stick to the program it will come off, eventually, and I am feeling so good right now, that if it takes another year to lose the last twenty pounds so be it!