Tuesday, March 30, 2021

ON TAKING TESTS: Overcoming Adversity Through God's Love


 During high school, our school counselor gathered all the juniors into the auditorium to prepare us for the big test that was coming.  This test was really important for our future so they wanted to prepare us as much as possible.  

I don’t remember any of the tips they shared with us that day, except one.  I used this tip on my test.  And I actually still use it today.  I’d like to share this tip with you all. 

The counselor told us to close our eyes and sift through our memories to find a beautiful, peaceful spot in nature that we could recall well.  He said to involve all of our senses in this experience.  

He asked us to recall everything we could: sights, sounds, smells, touch and even taste.  And I did.  

I had a beautiful memory of a time a few years before, sitting near a creek in Willow Flat campground in Idaho.  My great grandparents had camped there decades before and as I sat there, I thought of them.  

I can still remember the golden sunshine, the sparkling water, the smooth tiny stones, the vivid green grass and a tiny bug I watched.  And, just as important, I remember the connection I felt to my ancestors and to my Heavenly Father as I sat still in that beautiful place. 

The counselor told us the test would be in timed sections.  

We were to complete a section and then, we were encouraged to close our eyes, right in the middle of the testing location, and visit our chosen memory to refresh our minds and bodies.  

He told us to practice going to this happy scene in our minds before the test so it would be easy to access it during the stress of the day, surrounded by hundreds of other students. 

And I did practice. I loved the peace I felt by visiting this place in my mind. 

Why does reflecting on a time when we felt peace and joy restore some of that same peace and joy to our present circumstance? 

In part, it’s because our minds don’t distinguish between what’s really happening and something we are just remembering.  If you recall a scary situation, doesn’t your heart start racing and your palms get a little damp?  Well, recalling positive experiences work the same way.

  In General Conference last year, Neil L. Anderson spoke of recalling our defining spiritual experiences.  He challenged us to write them down and reflect on them often. 

 Our defining spiritual memories are like little lights we can recall, to refresh our minds and spirits as we take our earthly tests.

Photo by Diego PH on Unsplash

 I decided to do that recently. 

I started writing one memory of a time I’d felt God’s love for me.  As I finished writing one experience, another came to my mind. After a few pages of writing, I found some patterns.

 Some experiences were unexpected gifts of love from loving Heavenly Parents but *most* of my most treasured experiences came because I had a heartfelt desire or yearning to feel Heavenly Father’s love or to connect with Jesus Christ.  

It reminded me of Matthew 7:7 “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” 

God answers the private pleadings of our hearts! He delights to bless us, just as He promises in D&C 88:63 “Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you!”

Elder Uchtdorf reminds us that, “We all must walk through difficult times, for it is in times of adversity that we fortify our characters and draw closer to God.”  

During our hardest times, God is refining our dross and polishing our rough edges so that we can become who we truly are. 

Like it says in the beautiful words of How Firm a Foundation: “As thy days may demand, so thy succor shall be.”  He succors us according to our specific needs. 

 “When through the deep waters, I call thee to go, the rivers of sorrow shall not thee overflow,” We can call on Him so we aren’t overcome by rivers of sadness or pain, “for I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless, and sanctify to thee, thy deepest distress.” 

He will be with us! His grace is sufficient to see us through our fiery trials and to leave us better than before, even sanctified.  These promises are so beautiful. 

 And our God is a God who keeps His promises.

Elder Uchtdorf shares that the best way to carry on during a fiery trial is to strengthen our private religious behavior: 

Pray, scripture study, keep the commandments, focus on what you can do, muster your faith, and listen for the guiding word of the Lord.

I would also include powerful music that strengthens your connection to Heaven.

As Matthew S. Holland said, “Regardless of the causes of our worst hurts and heartaches, the ultimate source of relief is the same: Jesus Christ. He alone holds the full power and healing balm to correct every mistake, right every wrong, adjust every imperfection, mend every wound and deliver every delayed blessing… The process will unfold in His way and on His schedule but Christ stands ready always to heal every ounce and aspect of your agony.”


I’ve come to the conclusion that every one of us on this planet has a deep pain.  

We try to mask this pain with distractions 

or we try to numb it with addictions, 

but deep down, nothing can touch this pain that we all carry, except Jesus. 

 I believe that the pain we all feel is the separation from our Heavenly Parents and our Savior.  And so of course, the only solution to the pain, the obvious solution, is to seek to Hear and Connect with Them, to find healing, comfort and strength and to find joy.

Photo by Elia Pellegrini on Unsplash

Our dear prophet has this amazing promise for us: 

When you reach up for the Lord’s power in your life with the same intensity that a drowning person has when grasping and gasping for air, power from Jesus Christ will be yours. When the Savior knows you truly want to reach up to Him—when He can feel that the greatest desire of your heart is to draw His power into your life—you will be led by the Holy Ghost to know exactly what you should do.”


In my life, when a trial feels really heavy and I need to feel God’s peace and love, I will revisit that beautiful creek in my mind that I first learned to access in high school while preparing for that big test.

Photo by MichaƂ Bielejewski on Unsplash

 I picture myself sitting on a rock near that lovely little creek, basking in the sunshine and I pour out all of my emotions in a prayer to my Heavenly Father.  With the eye of faith, as it says in Ether, I can see my Father and my Savior listening, meeting me in my trials.  

I see myself laying all of my burdens on the altar and asking Christ to heal my heart and give me strength for another round of testing.  

And He does.  Every time!  

Every time I ask Him to heal my broken heart or comfort my troubled mind or give me strength for another day, He does.

We are promised that we will find rest and that He will not leave us comfortless. 

We are told to ask, seek and knock. 

Our prophet has challenged us to Hear Him. 

Let us seek this Jesus, the true source of healing and the One who lends us strength to overcome all our tests.  

Let us remember our Loving Heavenly Father and rely on His glorious promises and on His love.

Light of the World, by Brent Borup


Saturday, June 2, 2018

The Peace He Brings

Here's a uke tutorial for my newest song, 
The Peace He Brings. 
This song shares my testimony about Jesus Christ 
and how He can bring us peace, 
no matter our circumstance, if we seek Him. 
Let me know what you think.

Here's a link  to the chords and lyrics if you wanna play along. :)

Thursday, May 24, 2018

60 Day Challenge: Book of Mormon and Daily Goal Group

My friend Tiffany Fletcher and I have been working on an idea.... and you are all invited to join us!
We are setting up a group challenge to read the Book of Mormon daily and to provide accountability for a goal.

Linnell and I are doing this challenge because we need it.  But we want to invite you to do it with us too, if you feel impressed to join us.

Here's what we are envisioning.
60 Day Challenge:  Book of Mormon and Daily Goal Group

1. Prayerfully commit to a Book of Mormon reading goal. Tiffany and I plan to read the whole blessed book in the 60 days.  Here's a reading schedule on a nice book mark for a 60 day challenge.  (I'm printing this one out right now!) If you feel led to a little longer time frame, here's a cute Book of Mormon bookmark that outlines monthly sections to finish it in a year.  (I've used this one and given out to my Young Women.) 

2. Prayerfully pick a goal that 
Heavenly Father wants you to work on. 
 Daily Prayer?  Daily Scripture Study?  Seeking Daily Revelation?  5 Positive Interactions a Day with a Family Member? An Increase in Positive Self-Talk?  Exercise Daily? An Act of Ministering Daily? Making your Bed?  Decluttering a space each day? Limiting Social Medial Time?  Making Dinner Each Night?
(These are all goals I've set in my life...your needs are probably different but this list could springboard your mind into the direction you want to go.)

In addition to many of the goals Linnell listed, I have had goals such as, purposefully hugging each one of my children daily, keeping a daily gratitude journal, learning something new every day, writing a thank-you note every day, taking time to ponder daily, memorizing a scripture a day, and more purposeful prayer. The possibilities are endless!

3. Accountability
If you are the kind of person who does a little better when you know you have to report back to someone about your progress, you aren't alone!  That's the whole reason Tiffany and I are starting this group.  The idea of reporting back on your actions is an eternal principle and one that we are going to use to motivate ourselves!  If you need the same kind of motivation, please come join us!
We are going to start a facebook group for this challenge to keep it really simple.  Each night you log on to the page and comment if you met your goal for the day.  You can use the group for as little or as much support as you want.

What Prophets have Said about Reading the Book of Mormon
*President Thomas S. Monson's last general conference address to the whole church:
"This morning I speak about the power of the Book of Mormon and the critical need we have as members of this Church to study, ponder, and apply its teachings in our lives. The importance of having a firm and sure testimony of the Book of Mormon cannot be overstated.

We live in a time of great trouble and wickedness. What will protect us from the sin and evil so prevalent in the world today? I maintain that a strong testimony of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and of His gospel will help see us through to safety. If you are not reading the Book of Mormon each day, please do so. If you will read it prayerfully and with a sincere desire to know the truth, the Holy Ghost will manifest its truth to you. If it is true—and I solemnly testify that it is—then Joseph Smith was a prophet who saw God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.
Because the Book of Mormon is true, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s Church on the earth, and the holy priesthood of God has been restored for the benefit and blessing of His children.

If you do not have a firm testimony of these things, do that which is necessary to obtain one. It is essential for you to have your own testimony in these difficult times, for the testimonies of others will carry you only so far. However, once obtained, a testimony needs to be kept vital and alive through continued obedience to the commandments of God and through daily prayer and scripture study.
My dear associates in the work of the Lord, I implore each of us to prayerfully study and ponder the Book of Mormon each day. As we do so, we will be in a position to hear the voice of the Spirit, to resist temptation, to overcome doubt and fear, and to receive heaven’s help in our lives. I so testify with all my heart in the name of Jesus Christ, amen."
Pres. Thomas S. Monson April 2017

Marion G. Romney stated:
 "I feel certain that if, in our homes, parents will read from the Book of Mormon prayerfully and regularly, both by themselves and with their children, the spirit of that great book will come to permeate our homes and all who dwell therein. The spirit of reverence will increase; mutual respect and consideration for each other will grow. The spirit of contention will depart. Parents will counsel their children in greater love and wisdom. Children will be more responsive and submissive to the counsel of their parents. Righteousness will increase. Faith, hope, and charity—the pure love of Christ—will abound in our homes and lives, bringing in their wake peace, joy, and happiness."  Marion G. Romney April 1980

President Nelson, in his October 2017 conference address said:
 “Immersing ourselves regularly in the truths of the Book of Mormon can be a life-changing experience. One of our missionary granddaughters, Sister Olivia Nelson, promised an investigator that if he would read the Book of Mormon daily, his test scores on his university exams would improve. He did, and they did…

My dear brothers and sisters, I promise that as you prayerfully study the Book of Mormon every day, you will make better decisions—every day. I promise that as you ponder what you study, the windows of heaven will open, and you will receive answers to your own questions and direction for your own life. I promise that as you daily immerse yourself in the Book of Mormon, you can be immunized against the evils of the day, even the gripping plague of pornography and other mind-numbing addictions…

I testify that Joseph Smith was and is the prophet of this last dispensation. It was he who, through the gift and power of God, translated this holy book. This is the book that will help to prepare the world for the Second Coming of the Lord.”
Elder Russell M. Nelson October 2017

Why are we combining daily reading of the Book of Mormon with a daily goal? 
Because, Elder Nelson promised that if we read the Book of Mormon—every day, we will make better decisions—every day. Period.
We are adding our faith to President Nelson’s incredible promise, and applying it to our lives. In other words, we are claiming the blessings promised to us by a prophet of the Lord. That means that we will make better decisions on what to eat, what to spend our time on, what to say, what to do, how to treat people, how to grow our business, how to improve our circumstances, and how to petition our Father in Heaven. We will have better prayers, better relationships, and, in essence, become better disciples of Christ, as we faithfully read the Book of Mormon.
We humbly believe that if we read the Book of Mormon daily, any goal we set will be more easily attainable, because of President Nelson’s promise. We hope that you feel that way too.
If so, please join us in our 60 day challenge, and come claim your blessings!

We'd love to have you join us! Search for our facebook group: 60 Day Challenge: Book of Mormon and Daily Goal Group. Or friend-request me, Linnell Fowers, and I'll add you.:)

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

M=F/E OR: Mistakes, Failures and Experience

A few years ago I was given the opportunity to take on a project that was big and exciting.  It felt right to me and so I committed to doing the project. I'm a heart-and-soul kinda gal, so if I commit to something, I'm going to do it, all the way. 
 But it was HARD.  It took every ounce of everything I had to give and it wasn't enough.

And even though I tried 
and prayed 

and worked 
and tried...

I failed at it. I wasn't enough.
And I quit.

For a year afterward, I felt like I had a big red F on my forehead.  I walked around feeling the shame of failure and  knew I could never live it down.

Ever have an experience like this? 

Well.....turns out that my perspective on this failure caused me more grief than the actual experience.

Did you get that?  My Thoughts and My Take on the experience were what was holding me back.

Everyone else involved moved on pretty quickly.  
Turns out the project didn't die just because I wasn't there anymore.  They took out Person 1 and put in Person 2 and the project wheels kept churning along.

The only progression that stopped was my own.  
The only pointing fingers of blame and accusation were my own fingers.  

I prayed and tried to forgive myself and move on.  And I feel like I did.  It took some time because there were layers of things to heal from and to forgive and to give to the Savior.

I eventually moved on, fully forgiving.

 (BTW, Wanna know how I can tell if I've fully let go and forgiven?  If I can talk about it or think about it without feeling emotional, that's a big clue...If bitterness comes up, or regret, ect... I know that I have more forgiving to do. But now back to the main topic...:)

Here is the epiphany I had on Mother's Day.
WAS that Experience a FAILURE or did it give me EXPERIENCE?

Bro Packard is in our bishopric.  He's amazing.  He asked the Young Women to speak in Sacrament a few weeks before Mother's Day and then had them pull out their notebooks and he Taught them How to Prepare a Talk.  It was great.  I wished I'd learned his formula when I was a girl.  

On Mother's Day he came in to share a few more things with the Young Women.  
He talked about Mistakes, Failure and Experience.  He had a bunch of great acronyms that he shared with them. As he spoke, I thought of one of my own. 
Mistakes can equal Failure or Experience. 
It's all in your perspective.
Yup.  It's all in your perspective.

He encouraged us all to take advantage of every experience we could,
 to say yes to every opportunity that we felt right about
and to make every mistake along the way.
 (While keeping our standards and obeying the commandments, of course!)  

We came here to learn and grow!
 We came here to progress!
 We came here to learn all about life and 
love and growth and mortality.

We came to experience LIFE.

 Every experience has the possibility of mistakes and success.
 Every opportunity has it's lessons and experiences.  
Experiences will happen for our learning and our growth.
Do we choose to learn from them?

I am so excited about this!  

I now vow to view Mistakes as Experiences, not as Failures.
It's my choice.
I choose the path that leads to growth. 

On Monday I taught this lesson to my kids for Family Home Evening and challenged each one of them to do something they feared and to look for the experience and growth that comes from mistakes.  My 16 yr old told us he's been doing something similar lately called Seek Discomfort. He tries to do something that makes him uncomfortable each day. (Not uncomfortable because he's not keeping his standards, but uncomfortable because he's pushing out of his comfort zone.)
 Like sitting by a new kid who is all alone at lunch.

It's so empowering! to experience growth by making mistakes.  :)

Have all the EXPERIENCES you can. Don't fear the Mistakes.

You have a powerful Savior.
He's more powerful than our weakness and than any problem. 
It's all good. 

Monday, May 7, 2018

Snails, Spirals and a Staircase to Heaven

It's time.  Time to wake up, study some snails, (or set some big goals) and start climbing that Staircase to Heaven again. 

5 am Sunday: Groggy thoughts poking and prodding me awake... prompting me to remember something....suddenly clarity sprang from spiraling wanderings and I realized that it was time for me to set a certain goal.
 I've set this goal before... many times's a simple yet meaningful goal and it brings me great peace and joy and growth.

The goal:  To pray deeply and intently each day, seeking direction and revelation from the Holy Ghost each day.

As I woke up, deciding to set the goal, I felt such lovely peace in my heart. Knowing peace comes only from the Holy Ghost, I took comfort in knowing that Heavenly Father was pleased both with the goal and the timing of the goal. 

In my mind I started to set up a plan so this goal could become part of my routine, when suddenly I stopped in frustration.

A Dead Stop.

Into my mind swirled all the times I've started this goal and stopped it.  I felt so frustrated that I kept forgetting my goal, forgetting to spend meaningful time listening to Someone who means a great deal to me. The peaceful feeling fled as I remembered all the times I'd started but hadn't remembered to keep going. I felt like a slothful servant who tries repeatedly but makes no progress.  

Then I remembered that fear and doubt don't come from the Holy Ghost. So, I prayed, asking Heavenly Father to forgive me for giving into human frailty yet again.  I asked Him to help me forgive myself for being mortal, for forgetting.  I felt peace rush back into my heart.  And into my mind came this quote by Jeffery R. Holland.

"Be kind regarding human frailty—your own as well as that of those who serve with you.... Except in the case of His only perfect Begotten Son, imperfect people are all God has ever had to work with. That must be terribly frustrating to Him, but He deals with it. So should we.  Jeffery R. Holland's talk, "Lord, I Believe."

I love this straight-forward sentiment.  It's so comforting to remember that we are having a mortal experience, learning here and growing there, pressing through a veil of forgetfulness that sometimes thins and gives us beautiful moments of clarity and tender remembering and sometimes swirls back into thickness, causing us to forget if we are not careful.

As peace swept back into my heart during my prayer, an image came along with it.

This.  Isn't it amazing? 
 Spirals.  They've been spiraling through my mind often lately.
Let me explain.
When I realized this morning that I was setting the Exact Same Goal I set a year ago, I felt like this.
 A snail.  
Going nowhere. Slowly.
 How frustrating for Heavenly Father to have to deal with a 
slothful servant 
who repeatedly tries but makes no progress.  
But when I saw the Spiral in my mind it changed my perspective.  Completely.  See there's even a spiral in the shell of the snail.  (It's a sign.) (Ha Ha.)

The Spiral reminded me of this scripture....

D&C 3:2 "For God doth not walk in crooked paths, neither doth he turn to the right hand nor to the left, neither doth he vary from that which he hath said, therefore his paths are straight, and his course is one eternal round. "

God walks in a straight path, yet His course is one eternal round. 
 Like in a Spiral, ascending to Heaven, perhaps.
And where does that leave us, His children, who are trying to follow in Christ's footsteps?  

Well, maybe with each step we take, we are rising.  
Maybe each time we come full circle, 
each time we make the same goal with fresh determination 
and increased faith in Jesus Christ,
we are slowing ascending the spiral staircase, 
keeping our paths straight and our course one eternal round.

But like I said, it's only a "maybe". The only way to know for sure if you are ascending the beautiful Staircase to Heaven is to Ask.
Ask if you are progressing.  
Ask if you are on the right staircase.  Ask if you are heading in the right direction.  If you don't get an answer, try moving in a direction that feels right. 
 If it isn't right for you, you will feel to stop- if you keep asking. If it is right, keep moving.

I am grateful for repentance and forgiveness and for starting over again.  I am grateful for Jesus Christ, who saves me from myself. 

It's time to wake up, stretch, and set big goals, climbing that Staircase to Heaven.  My snail days are behind me.  It's time to take another step in that straight path that ascends Heaven-ward. 

Thursday, December 21, 2017

How Do I Know I'm on the Right Path?

In holy scripture we are warned that in the last days even the very elect will be deceived.  I just searched for that scripture reference on and found listing upon listing of conference talks that are peppered with the phrase "even the very elect shall be deceived".

(I got distracted from this post for a while, reading a few that caught my eye.)

(This brings me to the reason why I've been absent from blogging for a while.  After conference I had a realization:  what more can I say then has already been said by a general authority during a conference talk or devotional?  Not much, right?  Not at all.  But recently I realized something: I'm writing for more than just whoever happens upon these posts.  I'm writing for me and my posterity.  So, if I consider this my online journal where I record my thoughts and things the Spirit teaches me as I ponder, and if anyone else happens to benefit from these thoughts, that's a bonus. So, back to the post.)

I've spent a long time thinking about personal revelation and getting deceived over the past few months.  More than anything, I don't want to disappoint Heavenly Father.  I want to do His will and keep His commandments and seek His son and serve Him with all my heart.

So what if I get off track?  What if I start down a path that isn't going in the direction He needs me to head?
Ohh...suddenly bells start to go off.... the idea of going in a direction He doesn't need me to go reminds me of repentance.  And repentance isn't a bad thing.  Not at all.  I think sometimes we get the idea that we try the best we can and when we fail, after all we can do, then we pull out the Repentance card and muster up our Humility and Repent.  And that is all true.  But it is also true that Repentance is Joyful!  It's a time to rejoice in the goodness and grace of our Savior and His Atoning sacrifice that makes Repentance possible.  In fact, repentance is so good for us, I feel we could do it daily, even hourly.  Repenting brings us to a humble, clean, pure state where the Holy Ghost can dwell with us in full measure.  Repenting is very good.

I am not suggesting that we stop trying to discern whether we are heading in the right direction though.  Repentance is a wonderful and powerful tool we can use to help us continue moving in the right direction.  As we repent daily we are filled with the Holy Ghost and He helps us discern our best direction and velocity.

The concept of Repentance takes away some of the fear I've felt about being deceived.  This is good.  Angels in scripture are always advising their audience to "Fear Not".  I believe this is so the intended audience can fully receive the angelic message. Fear and Faith are opposites and cannot both reign in a single mind or heart.  One must lead out over the other.  In order for us to fully feel the Spirit, we need to have Faith be at the forefront.

I asked Heavenly Father for some basic guidelines to help me gauge if what I am learning is in line with His will and gospel.  And what I received from Him will not shock you.

 (Surprised?  Usually internet headlines scream shocking news on every hand. But Father isn't really shocking.  He's the same today, yesterday and forever. This constancy is something I am grateful for.)

Here's the basic guidelines I felt prompted to write down.  (You may have additional insights and I'd be grateful if you shared them.)

1. Compare Personal Revelation to the Scriptures.
Search them.  They are packed with treasures, both hidden and in full view.  They could not have been written by any mere mortal, the way they contain so many layers of teachings, comforts and warnings, ready and waiting for us to desire, seek and find.

2. Compare Personal Revelation to the Prophets.
Search the words of the apostles.  Conference talks are scripture given to us in our day, for our time, by our prophets who can see far ahead.

3. Counsel with my Husband.  He's a voice of reason in my life and less likely to be swayed by new ideas and viewpoints.  I'm a very flexible and sympathetic soul and can usually instantly understand where someone is coming from and why. Sometimes their ideas are so compelling I try them on for a while.  Usually this isn't a problem, but sometimes, I can get off course by looking beyond the mark.
This is wise counsel from Heavenly Father.  If I am considering ideas that I'm not comfortable sharing with my spouse, or my bishop, do I want to give these ideas equal time?

4. Temple Time.
Seek a second witness in the temple.  If I've received personal revelation that isn't urgent or life-threatening, take it to the temple to ask for insight about it in a protected place.

Here's the last basic guideline.

5. Seek to feel the Spirit every day.  If you feel the Spirit every day, you know that you are on the right track.  He can not dwell in unholy places.  His presence sanctifies and justifies and purifies.  So, if you are feeling the Spirit every day you know you are on the right track.  Continue holding to the rod, feasting upon the word, exercising your spiritual gifts and seeking to know and do the will of the Father.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Heeding the Call of Heaven

"I believe that every man, woman, and child has felt the call of heaven at some point in his or her life. Deep within us is a longing to somehow reach past the veil and embrace Heavenly Parents we once knew and cherished.
Some might suppress this yearning and deaden their souls to its call. But those who do not quench this light within themselves can embark on an incredible journey—a wondrous migration toward heavenly climes."
As I listened to his talk on Saturday morning, my heart burned with Joy!  I could feel the powerful promise of this dedicated apostle of the Lord and knew he spoke with authority.  I desired to continue on this journey, to let this feeling of longing propel me forward to reach past the veil.  
A faithful Sister in the Gospel of Jesus Christ shared this personal account of her progress on this "sublime journey" of heeding the call of the Savior. As I read it the Holy Ghost whispered things that I could do to further my progress along the same path.  Following the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I asked her if I could share it here with you all and she gave her permission.  Thank you dear Sister!  
"Last year I began to pray to see my weaknesses. I told the Lord that if He would make them known unto me I would strive the best I could to overcome them with His help.  At first it started with small things like the prompting to arise early and read my scriptures before my children were up. 
Then it was to give up "mind-numbing" activities, so I stopped watching TV as much and getting on Facebook unless it was for a purpose.  I was far from perfect at (limiting my) FB and wanted to get off all together and had the prompting that it could be used for good, which I have now seen in in my calling.  It has been a good resource to reach out to ___________.  I also stopped listening to the radio in the car and began listening to church talks or uplifting music.
I then had a dream where my Great Grandmother came to me and told me I had a great work to do but that I wasn't spiritually prepared to do it.  So I began to diligently pray for what I needed to do to prepare for that work. 
One day I heard in my mind, "If you want to spiritually progress you will have to step outside of your comfort zone." To be honest, this made me nervous but I felt that....surely with the Lord's help I could do this.  That night I told the Lord I was willing to do all that was asked of me if He would make it known unto me.
April of last year...I shared my testimony about my husband no longer working on Sundays because I had the overwhelming burning inside that I needed to share it.  We were late that Sunday and were sitting in the RS room.  After feeling that I should bear my testimony, I had the thought come into my mind that it was okay if I didn't share it because we were sitting in the RS room and my baby would probably start fussing.  Then I heard very clearly, "If you can't do this, you can't overcome the natural man."  Well, that made up my mind that I was going to do it.  I know this shouldn't have been a big deal but to me it was because I have never shared my testimony in Sacrament meeting except when giving a talk.  I am a very shy person and would rather always be quiet.
A few days following that experience I was awakened at 3 am and heard very clearly in my mind, "It is vital that you have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost.  It will be the difference between life or death."
I then started to pray on what I needed to do to more clearly recognize the promptings of the Spirit.  I specifically asked to have the ability to differentiate the voice of the Spirit from that of the adversary, and from my own thoughts.  
I was prompted to start a keeping a journal.  I wrote every prompting that came to me and how I responded to it.  I didn't always recognize promptings right away and would question if something was a prompting or not but if it was something that would uplift someone else or help me to better myself I followed it.  Something as small as the thought that "Sister ______ isn't at church. You should message her and see how she is doing."  I would write it down and that I followed through.  I also recived promptings of how to be a better wife, mother, daughter, visiting teacher, and so on.  I recorded those promptings and how I acted on them and then in my evening prayer I would return and report to the Lord.
I began to pray to be taught every morning as I read my scriptures and to be given a topic each week that the Lord would want me to study.  As I look back over the two journals I have filled I am amazed at what the Lord has taught me.  I started out with topics of a hard heart, pride, humility, sacrifice, broken heart and contrite spirit and progressed to the Light of Christ, the second comforter, patriarchal order of the priesthood, calling and election, and so on.  I would take one topic a week and listen to talks on that topic throughout the week and write down the things that stood out to me, then pray and ask the Lord if there was more that He desired to teach me on the subject and how I could implement what I had learned into my life.
In May I felt impressed that I needed to make a goal to attend the temple at least once a month, if not twice and that I should go fasting.  My husband and I have kept that goal and every time we went I would fast 24 hours prior to arriving and ask the Lord to teach me.  I have learned more about the temple covenants and symbolism in this last year that I had in all prior years combined.
At the beginning of the summer, while I was praying, I had the words come into my mind to "pray for the gift of prophecy." I didn't know what that meant and knew it had to be a prompting because I wouldn't have thought of it on my own.  A week or so later as I felt prompted to study Isaiah, which overwhelmed me, I read an Ensign article on how to understand Isaiah and one item listed was to pray for the gift of prophecy.
At the end of the summer last year I began to pray in my closet after reading a talk by Ezra Taft Benson titled, "Pray Always".  I also started to pray three times a day.  This is when I really started to notice a difference in my prayers.  It wasn't until the fall of last year that my prayers completely changed. I began to have a conversation with the Lord in my mind.  It was more than just a few words here or there.  Every day I ask the Lord who He would have me reach out to or how I can be an instrument in His hands.  Before I would have an image of someone or a name come to mind.  Now I hear words in my mind such as..." Reach out to Sister_______." I would ask what the Lord would have me do or say and I would hear, "Take her the book you are reading.  Tell her you love her and that I love her too."
My prayers began to get longer and longer.  What used to be a few minutes turned into twenty or thirty.  I began to ask questions such as, "What do I need to do in my life to more fully submit my will to Thee, Lord?" or "What unbelief am I holding on to that is keeping me from progressing?"  Sometimes I receive specific answers, other times I am told to study, fast, and go to the temple.  I have also prayed about spiritual gifts and what I need to do in my life to receive them.  Most of the time when the Lord asks me to do something He doesn't tell me why and I have to act in faith.  It might be to reach out to someone and I will ask what to say and be told that the words will be given to me at that time.  Once I was told I would receive a new assignment.  I asked what it was and was told it would come the following day and I would recognize it. The next day (the Bishop) texted with a request.
Over time I realized I could start talking with the Lord during the day as I was cleaning or driving if I would just listen.  This gift has been the most precious gift I have ever received from the Lord and has brought me more joy that I could ever begin to express. 
I love this quote by Elder Marion G. Romney..."Revelation is the means by which God communicates with men.  Revelation is indispensable to an understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  The very nature of the gospel is such that without the active and constant operation of the principle of revelation, it could not be understood nor could it be had.  Another manifestation of revelation is the unspoken word, a good illustration of which is given us by Enos.  He says: '....while I was thus struggling in the spirit, behold, the voice of the Lord came into my mind again, saying....' (Enos 10.) Then he tells us what the voice of the Lord put in his mind.  This is a very common means of revelation.  It comes into one's mind in words and sentences.  With this medium of revelation I am personally well acquainted.  Flashes of ideas that come into one's mind represent another type or manifestation of revelation.  Listen to this statement of the Prophet Joseph: 'A person may profit by noticing the first intimation of the spirit of revelation; for instance, when you feel pure intelligence flowing into you, it may give you sudden strokes of ideas, so that by noticing it, you may find it fulfilled that same day or soon, (i.e.) those things that were presented unto your minds by the Spirit of God, will come to pass: and thus by learning the Spirit of God and understanding it, you may grow into the principle of revelation, until you become perfect in Christ Jesus.' (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.151)" (Elder Marion G. Romney, April 1964 General Conference.)"
More from President Uchtdorf's talk, A Yearning for Home.
"And the Lord in His goodness asks:
Do you want to experience abiding joy?
Do you yearn to feel within your heart the peace that passes understanding?10
Then turn your soul toward the light.
Begin your own wonderful journey home.
As you do so, your life will be better, happier, and more purposeful.
Our beloved Father in Heaven has given us the Light of Christ. And deep within each one of us, a heavenly stirring urges us to turn our eyes and hearts to Him as we make the pilgrimage back to our celestial home.
This requires effort. You cannot get there without striving to learn of Him, understanding His instructions, earnestly applying them, and putting one foot in front of the other.
No, life is not a self-driving car. It is not an airplane on autopilot.
No one else is responsible for your personal journey. The Savior will help you and prepare the way before you, but the commitment to follow Him and keep His commandments must come from you. That is your sole burden, your sole privilege.
This is your great adventure.
Please heed the call of your Savior.
Follow Him."