Monday, November 30, 2009

Warm Fuzzies

One of the most memorable talks from this past General Conference was President Monson's on service, entitled "What Have I Done for Someone Today?" He shared how Saints all over the world answered his birthday wish for us to serve others, including one Primary who filled a jar with warm fuzzies for every act of service they did.

Service is an enormous part of being a Saint. At baptism we covenant to "bear one another's burdens, that they may be light" (Mosiah 18:8). In the temple we covenant to give all our time, talents, and blessings in building up the kingdom of God, whether that be through Church callings, missionary work, humanitarian aid, or random acts of kindness. Throughout the scriptures we are counseled to bless others in whatever way we can. President Monson bluntly said in regard to this commandment, "I believe the Savior is telling us that unless we lose ourselves in service to others, there is little purpose to our own lives."

However, we usually do not give priority to service. "I am confident," continued President Monson, "it is the intention of each member of the Church to serve and help those in need. . . . How many times has your heart been touched as you have witnessed the need of another? How often have you intended to be the one to help? And yet how often has day-to-day living interfered and you've left it for others to help, feeling that, 'oh, surely someone will take care of that need.'

"We become so caught up in the busyness of our lives. Were we to step back, however, and take a good look at what we're doing, we may find that we have immersed ourselves in the 'thick of thin things.' In other words, too often we spend most of our time taking care of the things which do not really matter much at all in the grand scheme of things, neglecting those more important causes."

Service does not have to be hours of volunteer work or large projects. In fact, most of the examples President Monson shared were simple, loving acts: doing chores, visiting the lonely, showing affection, going to the temple, etc.

Look around you; there are numerous opportunities to spread warm fuzzies. Always be aware and act upon what you see and feel to make someone's burden light. And in doing so, you will not only brighten someone's day and make President Monson happy, but you will also "grow and flourish--and in effect save [your life]."

Challenge: Next time a service opportunity arises, don't delay or ignore it. Just do it!

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Thursday night I went to a Relief Society activity with a Chicken Soup for the Soul theme. After a talk on gratitude and a tasty chicken soup dinner, a sister spoke about trials she has had throughout life, such as infertility, divorce, a brain tumor, and a child with Down Syndrome. She titled her talk "My Life with a Lemon Tree and a Bowl of Sugar."

Although I have heard "When life hands you lemons, make lemonade" all my life and usually dismiss it, this sister made me see the metaphor in a new light. She talked about the tree of life from Lehi's dream, which represents the plan of salvation, and how it is the source of sugar. When we use the plan of salvation (sugar) to get through our trials (the lemons), we have lemonade. She closed with, "After a while I stopped labeling things lemons and sugar, because things I thought were lemons ended up being sugar, and things I thought were sugar were also tart. I learned to put the lemons and sugar together and see and enjoy life as lemonade."

I never thought of it that way before. Usually I thought of the quote as meaning we have to add the sugar to life's lemons in order to make lemonade, that we need to just grin and bear it. But in reality, the sugar comes from the gospel and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. When we allow Him to carry our burdens, the trials seem not as tart. We still taste the tartness and learn from it, but we can swallow it, and even enjoy it, thanks to the added sweetness of the Savior.

Discussion: What does the quote mean to you?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

"Light" Reading

I love to read, so often when I am bored or have time on my hands, I pick up a book for some light reading. If it's a good book, I get hooked and make time to read. I usually end up reading for a few hours.

This is how we should read the scriptures. We should feel like picking up the scriptures for some reading when we are bored or have time. We should make time to read the scriptures like we do a bestseller because we are hooked. We should read for longer periods of time instead of the typical few minutes a day.

In the scriptures you will find all that makes a good book: heroism, war, love, growth and change, sorrow, happiness, good and evil, inspiration, warmth, drama, suspense, and mystery--and most important, the gospel. The scriptures truly are light reading: they hold light and truth; they light the way back to Heavenly Father; they fill us with light and happiness. They have been preserved for our benefit, so let's read them!

Challenge: Next time you feel like reading a book, open up your scriptures and enjoy them!

Monday, November 2, 2009

He's Our Bishop

Busy as a man can be,
He's our bishop.
He finds time to talk to me;
He's our bishop.
Always kindly words he'll say
To the children every day.
Let us help him every way;
He's our bishop.

Cheerful as he serves the Lord,
He's our bishop.
He's the father of our ward;
He's our bishop.
He helps us to do the right
In our Heavenly Father's sight.
We love him with all our might;
He's our bishop.

I love my bishop. I can think of only a couple bishops I did not like, and that's because I didn't understand the true nature of bishops at the time, and so I feared them. When I was about 17, I learned to appreciate them. Bishops are not principals or policemen (though maybe some are by profession). Bishops are Christ-like and fatherly: they love us unconditionally and want us to be happy; they are sweet and understanding. Bishops help us to repent, grow in the gospel, be spiritually strong, and find comfort and peace.

If you need to confess something, as embarrassing as it may be, you need not fear your bishop's reaction. And you can talk to your bishop about anything, not just about sins. Bishops give good counsel, priesthood blessings, listening ears, and love--lots of love. I advise you to talk to your bishop, get to know him better, and establish a relationship with him. He really does love you. As overwhelmed and busy as he is, he will always find time for you and help you.

Sharing Time: What good memories do you have of one of your bishops?

Photo of H. David Burton, Presiding Bishop, from