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.