Mom's Musings

Commandments are like Road Signs

Late in January, I had the privilege of teaching my Sunday School class.  All 5 children that were assigned to the CTR6 class were there.  The lesson was on how the Commandments help us Choose the Right.  

I started the lesson by playing a little game with the kids.  I had printed out road signs, and I told them to pretend they were driving on a path to a certain place to pick up important papers.  The only way they could get there was to follow the road signs that I would show as they were "driving" around the room.  

They all had their hands up, pretending to drive with a steering wheel, and it wasn't long before I had kids all over the room. One of the children was practically running around, even though I said to walk slowly because the room was rather small.  

At the end of the game, I was handing out the "important papers" to the first child.  The first child happened to be the one who had been running around, and another child asked in exasperation,

"Is that a speeding ticket?"  

I almost fell over from laughing!!  Kids are so hilarious!!!!   Later on, after composing myself, I explained to them that the Commandments are like road signs.  They are there for guidance and our safety (and to avoid speeding tickets!), and they will always keep us on the right path back to Heavenly Father.

Posted by June

February 11, 2013

(cartoon above © Wayne Edwards)

Lessons from a Cat

At the end of Alex’s September 10th posting, he asks about how Tucker, our cat, has adjusted to indoor life.  To provide a little background on Tucker, he is a black and white stray cat that I first noticed over 4 years ago.  He had adopted a small area of our boat to sleep in.  He was extremely fearful and would run at the first appearance of anyone.  I would show up to take garbage to the trashcan – he would run.  I would come around the corner while doing yard work – he would run.  I tried to console him, talking softly, but it was no good.  Each time, he would run away.  I left water and cat food out by the boat, but it remained untouched.  For two years, the same pattern repeated, and I thought he was a true feral cat.  As an animal lover, it really broke my heart to see that he wasn’t giving me a chance to befriend him.  Tucker simply did not want to take a chance with me.

After two years, a change began to take place.  Over a period of time, Tucker became acquainted with, and accepted, another neighborhood cat that actually had a home.  Snowball was a semi-outdoor cat that was raised with people and took full advantage of them!  He would meow, wrap his body around your legs, and act like he was on the verge of starvation.  Unfortunately, one day his owners were moving, and the chaos must have scared Snowball away.  They couldn’t find him when they had to leave.  When Snowball finally showed up several days later, the home was vacant with the owners long gone.  My girls left food and water outside of the empty home so that Snowball wouldn’t starve or die of thirst.  We began to see that both cats would hang out in the front yard together and wait for the girls to leave the filled dishes for Snowball.  Then the girls noticed that Tucker would creep over and investigate the dishes after Snowball was done eating and drinking from them.  Eventually, Tucker began to actually nibble from them, and finally devour the leftovers.  I had the girls start leaving the dishes out in our front yard, and the cats adapted quickly to the new location.  Slowly, Tucker began to take notice of me.  First, he would glance at me, and then watch me for a period of time, as the dishes were moved closer toward me over the course of a week.  He learned not to run, and he learned that I was not evil.  Tucker began to trust that I wouldn’t hurt him.  Snowball stopped coming around my house, and I thought that maybe the original owners had come by to get him.  I found out later that another family in the neighborhood had adopted Snowball.  Needless to say, we kept food and water out for Tucker, and he took us up on our offerings.

One day after work, I parked my SUV and got out of it to go inside the house.  Tucker was sitting very still, like a statue, not far from where I was…  I sat down on the edge of a planter and called very softly to him.  After 10 minutes or so, he took a step toward me.  I called to him again.  Another step, then another...  Soon, he was within an arms reach, and his green eyes were so wide with caution and reluctance.  I extended my hand at a snail’s pace, and he sniffed it from afar.  Then he backed away and sat under the SUV.  This same scene repeated over the course of a few days, each time with him getting closer and closer.  One day, Tucker finally accepted a small touch.  Soon, it was a stroke on his head, and a scratch under his chin.  With a lot of time, patience and kindness, Tucker grew to accept the girls and I.  I managed to get him to the vet for shots and check-up, and he forgave me when I let him go in the front yard afterward.  He learned how to play with cat toys, and pounce and jump like happy cats should do… and he learned to come inside the home – at first, just his head would slide around the door jam, then a forefoot would step on the tile, and the girls and I rejoiced when he would sit just inside the door and watch us very closely.  Over time, we could keep Tucker inside for an hour or two, but he would become anxious and need to be let outside.

After a couple days of not showing up for food early this summer, we grew concerned.  He wasn’t around the boat, and he wasn’t around any of his usual hangouts.  Finally, Tucker appeared with a large, infected and inflamed cut on his neck.  His body hair was falling out with stress each time we petted him.  He was a very sick cat.  The infection smelled so horrible, and I gagged a couple times as I trimmed away the matted fur and cleaned the wound as best I could.  I did quick research on the Internet and put some “cat-safe” antibiotic on the flesh and wrapped his neck with a bandage and gauze.  I added socks to his back feet to keep him from scratching his neck.  He acted miserable, but his eyes were full of trust.  The next morning, the vet took care of Tucker with cleaning and antibiotic shots.  We left with sage advice to keep him inside as he healed.  Tucker accepted indoor life rather quickly.  Now, he wants nothing to do with the front door or his old life, and he’s slowly getting accustomed to big, burly Dad.  Tucker is affectionate and playful, gives wonderful cat kisses and throaty purrs, and is truly a happy and loving cat.

I am so happy for Tucker – he overcame his old fears, his old life, to learn about and accept something better and greater than what he was living through.  Tucker is now living in a far better place in his life, with love and attention from our family.  And what’s more important is that he knows it!  He doesn’t want anything to do with the outdoors.  He wants to stay where it’s safe, and comfortable, and secure.  I know this is simplistic, but I think that many of us are like the “old” Tucker.  We are resistant, perhaps fearful, of change taking place in our lives.  Looking back at my own life, how many times had Heavenly Father put out “water and food” for me to take, but I was too blind, or stubborn, to take a chance and see it?  Thankfully, He is patient with all of us.  And as my understanding of Jesus Christ and His gospel deepens, my eyes are being opened - my mind, enlightened.  I hear the soft callings of the Holy Spirit guiding me as I learn about trust, faith, forgiveness, and healing.  I’ve learned of God’s sacrifice to give up His only begotten Son, and Jesus’ Atonement for all mankind.  I’ve learned that by His grace, we are saved.  I’ve learned that we can live with Him again.  And I can’t comprehend what a glorious life that will be!!!!

These are some of the things that I’ve learned during my years with Tucker.  I am on a journey, and as I open my heart and live according to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I have His promise of a wonderful, everlasting life!

Posted by June
September 10, 2012


Music in our Lives

I remember my first introduction to Jesus occurred when I was around 5 or 6 years old.  At that time, my family lived in Colorado Springs, Colorado, because my dad was stationed at the United States Air Force Academy.  It was summertime, and I was attending a nearby church’s summer vacation Bible school.  I remember learning the little children’s song “Jesus Loves Me” in class one day and loved singing it on the bus homeward with all the other kids -

Jesus loves me, this I know
For the Bible tells me so
Little ones to Him belong
They are weak, but He is strong
Yes, Jesus loves me –
Yes, Jesus loves me…
Yes, Jesus loves me,
The Bible tells me so.

I find a lot of comfort in that song.  It had become etched into my mind at that young tender age, and I seem to call upon that jingle 40+ years later whenever I feel a bit down, upset, or worried about something.  It’s a beautifully simple, yet powerful, song.

This last Sunday, I was introduced to my ward’s Primary group as a new teacher.  I was completely amazed with all the songs the Primary children sang.  As I watched them, it occurred to me that many of them didn’t have to think about the words to sing – they knew these songs by heart.  I have no doubts that these children will recall and sing these little tunes when they are grown; perhaps to themselves, their children or grandchildren 40+ years from now. 

Music is an integral component within people's lives.  Because it is so powerful, we need to be aware that it's the type of music we sing and listen to that triggers blessings from above.  The following excerpts were copied from the First Presidency Preface in my little hymnal:

Three months after the Church was organized, the Lord, through the Prophet Joseph Smith, instructed Joseph's wife, Emma, to make a selection of sacred hymns for the Church: "For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads" (D&C 25:12).

The hymns invite the Spirit of the Lord, create a feeling of reverence, unify us as members, and provide a way for us to offer praises to the Lord.

Some of the greatest sermons are preached by the singing of hymns. Hymns move us to repentance and good works, build testimony and faith, comfort the weary, console the mourning, and inspire us to endure to the end.

Music has boundless powers for moving families toward greater spirituality and devotion to the gospel. Latter-day Saints should fill their homes with the sound of worthy music. 

Ours is a hymnbook for the home as well as for the meetinghouse. We hope the hymnbook will take a prominent place among the scriptures and other religious books in our homes. The hymns can bring families a spirit of beauty and peace and can inspire love and unity among family members.

Teach your children to love the hymns. Sing them on the Sabbath, in home evening, during scripture study, at prayer time. Sing as you work, as you play, and as you travel together. Sing hymns as lullabies to build faith and testimony in your young ones.

In addition to blessing us as Church and family members, the hymns can greatly benefit us as individuals. Hymns can lift our spirits, give us courage, and move us to righteous action. They can fill our souls with heavenly thoughts and bring us a spirit of peace.

Hymns can also help us withstand the temptations of the adversary. We encourage you to memorize your favorite hymns and study the scriptures that relate to them. Then, if unworthy thoughts enter your mind, sing a hymn to yourself, crowding out the evil with the good.

Brothers and sisters, let us use the hymns to invite the Spirit of the Lord into our congregations, our homes, and our personal lives. Let us memorize and ponder them, recite and sing them, and partake of their spiritual nourishment. Know that the song of the righteous is a prayer unto our Father in Heaven, "and it shall be answered with a blessing upon [your] heads."

~ The First Presidency

Pay attention to what we sing and listen to... Whether it be hymns, primary songs, or spiritual music that we watch and listen to on radio and TV, these righteous songs please Heavenly Father and will bring us many blessings. 

Posted by June
September 3, 2012

The Power of Prayer

After my recent baptism into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Alex challenged me to begin keeping a journal of my spiritual growth as I discover what it means to be a believer, follower, and disciple of Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.  I’ve put it off for a couple of months, mostly because I’ve never really kept a journal for more than a few days, and I wasn’t sure how I wanted to approach doing this.  Did I want to keep it private or put it out there on a blog?  I had added a “Mom’s Musings” tab in Alex’s blog when I started it two months ago, but was undecided on it’s purpose.  The only sure thing I knew about my journaling was that I wanted to type it.  Writing by hand will surely make me tired and drift off to sleep (explaining why my previous journal attempts lasted only a few days!). 

Last week, I finally decided that I would keep my journal on Alex’s blog.  I came to this decision after a prayer request for me to do the right thing.  My “Mom’s Musings” page will be the promise I made to Alex before he left for the MTC at the start of his mission.  Before deciding about this, though, I had a couple of feelings that my journal should be private, and in many respects, rightly so.  But then I wondered if those feelings were being influenced because of the adversary not wanting me to share my story, my testimony, with others.  You see, for the longest time, I’ve struggled with “my testimony”.  What is a testimony in the first place, and what is my testimony really about?  The adversary knows of my struggles with this whole idea of building my testimony, and he had set up roadblocks in my mind during the last couple of years since I started on this spiritual journey.  I will talk of those roadblocks and my definition of testimony in the future, but for now, my simple desire was to know whether to keep my journal privately or blog about it.  I remembered two pieces of scripture:  If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5) and from (3 Nephi 18:20) – And whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is right, believing that ye shall receive, behold it shall be given unto you.”  So I asked Heavenly Father in prayer what I should do…  A few days after asking for guidance, I received an email and the first topic is what caught my immediate attention –

Now, how cool is that???  I believe that my prayer was answered with that email, and since then, I’ve been getting very strong, positive feelings about my journaling online.  I’d like to share what I learned from the missionaries and Sunday School about prayer:

·        Prayer is sincere communication with Heavenly Father.  We should express our love for Him, thank Him for all that He has given us, and ask for guidance, strength, protection and forgiveness.

·        Prayer is a blessing and commandment.  Jesus taught “Ye must always pray unto the Father in my name” (3 Nephi 18:19).

·        Prayers are answered.  It may be yes, perhaps no, or even not answered for a period time – but have faith that Heavenly Father will answer at the most appropriate time for our benefit and learning.  “Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers” (D&C 112:10).

·        We should follow the same general format during prayers:  We open our prayer to Heavenly Father.  We thank Him for our many blessings.  We ask Him for whatever needs we or other people may have, then we close our prayer “in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen”.

Although my journaling inquiry may be rather inconsequential in the grand scheme of things, my point of this journal entry is that prayer is a powerful blessing.  Heavenly Father loves each of us, and He’s here to help us and answer our questions, no matter how big or small.

Posted by June
August 28, 2012


1 comment:

yoshimia said...

I just noticed you have posts on this and I am So glad you decided to share your thoughts. How profounbding your writings are! As I was reading tucker's and how gadually and slowly he trusted you guys I thought of you and the privilages I had to be at your missionary disccusions. June You are so wonderful! Thanks for being my neighbour and friend and jaden's primary teacher!
You are so amazing!

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