Friday, February 27, 2009

Sister Beck comes to Anchorage

So apparently Sister Beck's sister is the "Bush" Relief Society President or serves somehow int he "Bush district of Alaska" and she was visiting and we got a fireside out of the visit. Yay! Some things you might not know about her: the B in Julie B. stands for Bangeter like the road in Utah; she lived in Brazil as a little girl where her dad was a mission president and instead of playing house they played "missionaries"; she has 10 siblings; she is fluent in Portuguese; she was baptized in Brazil and thus considers herself a Brazilian saint; as the General Relief Society President she also sits on the PEF committee/board as well as the Welfare board and the Church Education Boards.

Sister Beck began her comments talking about what a marvelous work is being done and how much good the church does in the world. She said it is a "faith based work that is so inspiring." That the church has schools, ranches, dairies, trucking companies all to bless the lives of those in need. She then spoke about the organization of the Relief Society and how it is the ultimate peace corp. That the organization has exact purposes and responsibilities to help build the kingdom of God on Earth. That there are 5.8 million of us who speak 104 languages scattered throughout the world. She spoke of going to India, Hong Kong, Brazil, and other places and seeing the faith and lives of the sisters there and how it strengthens her faith. She told us that in Hong Kong there is a daily sacrament meeting to meet the needs of the LDS Phillipeano worker women, who have rotating days off. She spoke of a woman in a remote farm area of Brazil who said "I know how to live and what to teach my children" Sister Beck said that is right the gospel is simple and she has her covenants.

She opened it up for questions and like always there are a few craz-o's in the group. Someone asked where is all the help for Alaska we had a horrible Earthquake here in 1964 where was the church then? --Lady if you are holding on to that I got two words...Let it go! 1964 was a long time ago. (my words not sister becks) Sister Beck talked about how the church does not need praise for their good works and that lots of good things happen in Alaska that only Bishops and people receiving help know about. Then she spoke in general how the church does not hand out but lifts people up. She only spoke of things we might not know about so we would feel apart of the marvelous good that is going on. Someone else asked" you said the church has schools are they going to expand that program as the world increases in wickedness?" Again my thoughts were hello NO! The church will never do our duties..your a mom do your job! Teach your kids what is right and wrong, build up their armor and things will work out. (again my words not sister becks) Sister Beck explained that the church is phasing out those schools and that those schools were started because there was NO education there and that most of those schools were on the isles of the Sea.

In response to the question " how do I recieve a testimony that I am a daughter of God?" Sister Beck encouraged us to be in places to where you can feel the Spirit because knowing you are a daughter of God is a spiritual knowledge. She also said that when you really want to know and believe that you are a daughter of God you will pray. She said open up the scriptures anywhere and start reading you'll find answers. Answers are in the scriptures! She says she gets a floppy copy of the Book of Mormon ( missionary blue copy) and writes her questions in the front and answers/connections in the back. She told us to make connections in the scriptures they are not going to say "katie you are a daughter of God" but they will say as in Moses that Moses saw God face to face and knew his name and had a work for him to do so if Moses is a son and God knows his name then surely I am a daughter and God knows my name and has a work for you to do. She then told a cute story of her granddaughter watching her read and mark her scriptures then the 6.5 yr old girl asked grandma where did you get scriptures with color in them? I want some like that. Sister Beck explained that she could not buy some but she could make her own. So the granddaughter asked how? Sister Beck told her to go get her scriptures and the granddaughter returned with her scriptures a pen and a pink highlighter. She told her to mark things she understood or liked and so they began at the beginning of the Book of Mormon. Her granddaughter read "I Nephi having been born of goodly parents...and then said, ohhh grandma I have goodly parents" so she marked that with pink highlighter and wrote in the margin (like grandma) I have goodly parents too.

Continuing on the theme of knowing who we are she said that she gets to watch her granddaughter Lily (when she is home) when her daughter teachers piano at their house. She says Lily knows she is a princess she runs in and says "Grandma I am here, it's me Lily." She says they know they are precious at 3. She says it is our job to help them remember that because some where between 3 and 13 they forget. She told us to keep a gratitude journal or if we are not a journaling type to stop and recognize the blessing in your life and you will know and you do know you are a daughter of God.

Someone then asked "how do we help our Young Women transition into Relief Sociey?" She responded the most important thing you can do is to help them get a testimony of their own..then they know where they go and where they belong when it is transition time. ( I thought AMEN !!! Cristi started chuckling I did not realize I had said AMEN it out loud) She then went on to say that transitioning is not a disease that you are gonna catch. It is a fact of life from the time you are born until you die life is one big transition, so get used to it. She said each transition time is a time to grow your testimony. She then talked about how the YSA's have a great work to do in Relief Society and in the Lords Kingdom. She asked us "who is going to preach the gospel my daughter who is expecting baby number seven and hears all day long mom, mom, momma, mom ( I thought of Amy with Jacob. Mom is that boys favorite word) or my mother who is transitioning into a time in life when her body and mind will not do what they are supposed to do?" It is the youth and young people of the church who have so much to give and seek a place to belong and contribute. She said that Relief Societys need to organize and get busy doing to Lord's work.

Then someone asked about the Churches' stance on gay marriage. Sister Beck quoted the proclamation on the family and testified that we know we are sons and daughters of God with an eternal gender, identity, and destiny..then she said that we love everyone. Love one another and if you don't you are not mine. We are not against anyone. What we are for the is the family and the preservation of the family. The family is the institution that will last forever. She said too many of us live like this life is IT. It is not! One of my favorite quotes from the whole night was when she said; "however, when behavior comes up against doctrine..doctrine will win every time."

She concluded with a powerful testimony and said twice that "experiences prepare us for the dream." She testified that we have a loving Heavenly Father who loves us and that we sat in counsel with Him and fought to preserve the family. She said that battle rages on now and that we signed up for the plan of Heavenly Father and that you don't give up on the plan you fought a war over. Some of you face health challenges, hard economic times, family disappointments (I thought oh boy this is the new pc slogan for single? =0) I thought the next time someone asks if I am single I will say no just family disappointed) then she said some of you wanted the dream of a family but are having a different experience don't worry- EXPERIENCES PREPARE YOU FOR THE DREAM. Then she went on to testify of the Fall and how Adam and Eve wanted the experiences without them they would never had children, they would never know how good it feels to have a Savior to Rescue them. She testified that we ARE living the plan we signed up for and that we have a Savior who taught us how to live and the taught us of covenants and ordinances. She testified of the reality of the Atonement to heal and bless us and make us better. If there is anything we need more of it is FAITH she said in Him and following His ways. She then testified of the power of the Holy Ghost that He is in around and through us. She said the number one things she wants for her daughters is that they know how to seek, receive, and act on revelation. If they know how to get revelation and make choices;there is no ability that surpasses that in all the world. She continued by testifying of President Monson and living Apostles. She told us that the Lord can not accomplish His work with out women and their influence. ( see her Mothers Who Know Talk for more on where a woman's influence is felt most { the HOME}) She said influence is more powerful than great management. She told us to be strong and immovable in our course don't be drawn of course. Know the doctrine, for it is clear, true, loving, and fair. We all have trials if you aren't currently experiencing them just wait. We are all having experiences to prepare for the dream. Stick close to the Lord. Gather into families as much as you can. Then she read from Alma 48 ..that work was done to prepare the minds of the people to be faithful. She said that is our JOB. That is what we do in our families. We help throw up fortifications. She asked us "what are you doing to help build fortifications around your family?" She read where this time of preparation for war was described as "there never was a happier time." She said that in these current times of war and rumor of war and economic down times can be our happiest times because the gospel is going forth and that at last general conference President Monson announced 5 new temples. She said this is an advance not a retreat. She testified that we are building the kingdom of God in Alaska, in all the world and hopefully in our hearts. She closed appropriately and sat down.

It was great to go and to richly partake of the Spirit of the meeting. I really hope that I can write her "we are having experiences to prepare us for the dream" on the fleshly tablets of my heart. I know that the Lord must have something sweet in store for me {boy do I love sweets} because he is allowing me ,and everyone of us in our own ways,the bitter experiences of mortality.
I could really feel her love for me individually, for all the sisters present in the meeting, and the sisters throughout the world as she spoke of them. I know she is an inspired leader and that if I follow her counsel I will be blessed. As we walked out of the meeting it was soo dark there was just a sliver of moon showing, as I was pointing it out to Crisit, the lady in front of us said the moon is winking at us. It was really pretty! The temple was behind us all lit up against the dark night it was amazing. That is what we are the sliver of moonlight and a temple on a hill shinning in the darkness. We know the truth, we have the knowledge or light D&C 93. How grateful I am for that!!! And for parents, YW leaders, teachers, Bishops, missionary companions and friends, seminary and institute instructors who have invited the Holy Ghost into lessons and experiences that have all helped me gain my testimony and strengthen me. I know this was lengthy hope you enjoy it.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Turnagain arm drive was so nice. I went last evening with a friend and we watched the sunset over the water. It was spectacular and it just made me realize how many things I am grateful for. And how I need to focus on them instead of what is lacking in my life or things I don't have. I struggle with PCOS and it's daily effect on my health and appearance and I need to do what I can and then turn the rest over to the Physician of my soul. Anyway here are some of the things I do have that I love..........
~ this beautiful place I live
~my family
~that I can see
~that I can taste
~my sense of touch _ for those wondering she left off smell -- my sniffer does not work at least
~the gospel not very well at all...and sometimes this is a blessing too! =-)
~the atonement
~our country (even with it's current issues and leadership)
~my momma what an angelic human being
~warm brownies
~the hope of all my dreams
~the book of mormon -the word so powerful!
~that I can walk and move about unassisted
~baby giggles

Got to go school is about to start.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy

I am way excited about the amount of sunshine that has been pouring into my days recently. When the sun is out and the day is clear there is not another more majestic place anywhere! Yesterday ,driving to church was spectacular and I only live 1.5 miles from church. Baby blue skies, white mountains ah gorgeous!

I was able to talk to my nephews and niece yesterday. They make me so happy! They are too much fun to talk to, esp. on the phone. They ask me the funniest questions all the time..are you still teaching?...what time is it there? you have snow still?....have you found a husband? it dark there? I asked Sam if he was being good in school (that is what I ask them all the time) and Sammy said quite honestly," um...sometimes I be good." I can only imagine what his kindergarten teacher deals with. He is overflowing with energy. Emily Rae is always full of good information too. Little girls say the darndest things. Who has been good and bad. What her dad says while driving down the road to his "honey." So hilarious!

Mom was telling me that Cole was rubbing Jared's eyebrows (which can be quite furry) and asked him dad what are those? Jared told him they were eyebrows and that he had some too. Cole ran to go look and see if he had "eyebrowns" too. Then another day Jared was trying to get Cole to go to his bed to sleep and he was saying "cole what do I hear? your bed calling you saying Cole come sleep on me." Cole told Jared his bed didn't have a mouth. He is a hoot! I miss those kiddos.

I can not believe that I am at the end of the 3rd nine weeks of my first year of teaching. Boy what a year! I have learned so much about myself and about relying on the Lord and his timetable. I think that is a lesson I will continue to learn as I yearn for unfulfilled blessings in my life. I am making joy in the journey..and look forward to new adventures.

Sister Beck is speaking here on Thursday and I can not wait. I loved her Mothers who Know talk. That is the kind of momma and wife I want to be. She knows the doctrine of motherhood. Her comments in this months Visiting Teaching Message is pretty clear about our roles as women..she says something like " we can refuse it. We can deny it. But it is ours and one day we will be held accountable for it." Powerful doctrine. I know that her message is not always well received and more than once I have heard women say, I am just not cut out for being a stay at home mom. Well then repent and change...learn to love it. That is like saying I am not good at living the gospel..learn to get good at it ,work at it and it will come. The Lord will prepare a way for us to keep his commandments. Pray for it and make it work. I might be a little biased in my opinion since this motherhood is the number one thing I want in life.It breaks my heart to think of so many little ones who just want and need time with their parents. I see daily the lack of family support and true nurturing at school everyday. So sad.

Well kiddos. I think I am going to go for a drive down the Turnagain Arm this afternoon. Enjoy the sunshine and the mountains and ocean all at once.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Institute and inspiration

So as y'all can tell from my writing that I am no grammarian. I am not a detailed oriented person to those of you who are and try to fix my lame excuse for writing, I apologize....I have said this before but just thought I'd repeat it.

I was having a rough go of things: car doing crazy things like not starting for no good reason (unless you count being so darn cold a good reason), issues with the fella I like ( he is amazing but things are moving slow and I am not sure how keen he is on me) I am grateful for the friendship we have and besides girls always have issues, we are always a wee bit crazy right?, school stresses ( 3 IEP's to write and meetings to attend), and not a lot of sunshine (although we are gaining daylight now =0). I went to Institute Tuesday after feeding the missionaries and we watched President Uchtdorf's talk on Hope. It was even more powerful than the first time I watched it.

Our instructor had us write down all the words that President Uchtdorf used to describe hope: words like braces us up, supports, upholds, encourages, refreshes, sustaining, active, firm, carrys us, enthusiasm, optimism, joy, happiness, stabilizing, gladness, protective, anchor, foundation, inspire, was sooooo good to hear and to feel his love and the love of our Savior. We know that our salvation has been planned for and the way made. We just have to hold on to hope and cling to hope...the Hope of Israel; knowing He will keep his covenants he has made to His children.

His concluding words were especially powerful "And to all who suffer - to all who feel discouraged, worried, or lonely- I say with love and deep concern for you, never give in. Never surrender. Never allow despair to overcome your spirit."
Wow! Powerful doctrine. I was really thankful for the Spirit that was in the class and the feelings I felt. He also said that we have the responsibility to make it (hope) an active part of our lives and overcome the temptation to lose hope. I have fallen victim to that temptation. I know that when I chose hope I am choosing the right. Knowing this I plan on making a renewed effort to keep my hope alive and an abiding principle in my life. Pres. Uchtdorf said that "hope is manifest in confidence, optimism, enthusiasm and patient perseverance. " I am striving to let my confidence shine through and to be more optimistic and enthusiastic...the patient perseverance...well.... patience never was a McKinney virtue. =0) but I am working on it.

Alaska is gorgeous. I love going for walks in the morning with Cristi's dog. We found a little lake to walk around and the subdivision has lots of hills for strengthing the tooshy and legs. At the top of one of the hills is an amazing view of the mountains. Obviously, it is dark when we go out but when there is no moon you can see the white mountains against the dark night and it is spectacular!! Saturdays when we go out in the sunshine and it is wonderful. I am keeping up on my resolution to be more active and reach a goal size of a 10. I am down to a 18ish and happy about that.

Driving in the snow can be crazy...the lanes shift all the time and you are never really sure what lane you are just follow the car in front of you or watch out for the car beside and behind you that you don't get in there way. Same with parking no lines just guesses.

Well I got to run but wanted to give a shout out. It is February now one month closer to the end of the school year. And the month my momma was born she is such an inspiration to me. How I love her....and miss her terribly sometimes. Love you momma. ( I am not sure she reads this but just in case)