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Monday, May 30, 2011

The Secret Weapons of Patience & Praise (mixed with Love!)

It's true.  


Patience and Praise are like secret weapons when it comes to working changes for good over the hearts of others. They are especially powerful when others seem to deserve them least! 


I believe most of us don't use them or forget to use them because it sounds just too simple. Here is an INSPIRING story that was presented by my dear friend, Melissa, at the recent LDSEHE Conference.  My husband and I are long-time friends of  Shawn and Melissa and can vouch for their wonderful characters!


"My good husband has a natural gift of seeing the good in others. He has an amazing heart, an eternal perspective and more patience than all of us in this room combined. When we were first married we were called to be the Sunday School teachers for the 14 and 15 year olds in a family ward near BYU. People literally gave us their condolences and wished us good luck and safety. I was a little worried." 


"One lady came up to us and told us we would not last long in that class because the kids were just terrible, and especially this one boy named Troy. Well, they were all right. This class was awful, especially Troy. He was belligerent, rude, disrespectful, and just plain terrible. I had never seen anyone like him in my life! Later he told us that his goal was to do whatever he could to make us hate him, and let me tell you, he was very skilled in his approach. Many times I wanted to snatch him right out of the class and let him have a good southern talking to!" 


"I remember one time right in the middle of the lesson Troy started building a tower out of the chairs. I wanted to tell him to stop, but my husband just stood there quietly and watched him. Then when Troy was finished, Shawn proceeded to tell him what a wonderful tower he had built, and how it was structurally sound, and that he was really smart to know how to do it that well. And he threw in a few engineering terms and made Troy look like this amazingly talented kid and had the other students admire his work. That definitely would not have been my approach to this situation, but this is how every single class was on Sundays. Shawn never let me reprimand him or pull him out of the class. He just kept loving him and finding anything good he could about Troy."


"After a while, Troy stopped doing those awful things, and he changed, and he loved Shawn. We moved away within that year, but we got a call one day from Troy asking us if we would come to his mission farewell, which was a miracle in itself.  And he told us that when we were his teachers he had tried so hard to make us hate him, but no matter what he did, we just showered on more love. And no one had ever treated him that way before and it had changed his life."


We have seen patience and praise work in our family countless times when we gather for family prayer.  If we can find one person even half-way kneeling and then point it out by saying, "I see 'so in so' is kneeling and being very reverent," within seconds everyone will be ready for the prayer.  It seems to even work with teens, which is really quite amazing.


So don't forget to use "the Secret Weapons" daily in your family!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Bless & Love with Your Thoughts



I've been listening to "The Love Revolution" by Joyce Meyer on audio book over the past few weeks here and there while working around my home or driving in the car.  It's one of those books I feel I need to listen to several times as it's message is profound! (I've also been having other members of my family listen.)

This is a short excerpt I heard a couple of days ago:

"A woman shared this story to show the power of thoughts:

'During Christmas I moved a fig tree upstairs to the bedroom to make room for the Christmas tree. It had a small branch with about a dozen leaves on it down below the rest of the branches. It didn't look right, ruining the shape of the tree.

When I would wake up in the morning I'd see that tree in the window and think, I'm going to cut that branch off. Every time I passed that tree I'd think, That branch doesn't look right, I'm going to get rid of it.

Time went by. The tree was moved back to the living room. I continued to think a negative thought each time I noticed it. All total this lasted about a month and a half.

One morning I walked by the tree and every leaf on that little branch was yellow. There was not one other yellow leaf on the whole tree.  I got kind of goose bumpy and told my husband. He looked at me and said, "I'm sure glad you think nice things about me."

I cut that branch off that day!

I have always had a difficult relationship with my mother-in-law. Of course I never thought I had any blame, being so sweet and all. I decided this was worth an experiment. Every time I thought about my mother-in-law I determined to bless her, to go out of my way to think about her and bless her!

She seldom calls me or has interest in chatting with me. But within five days she had called me three times--just for a moment, but they were friendly calls! She hadn't called me more than six times the whole last year."

This woman ordered my teaching series on the power of thoughts and said, "I watch what I think about other people now.'

We think countless thoughts about other people, but we should do it more responsibly. I believe thoughts work in the spiritual realm, and although they cannot be seen with the naked eye, I do believe our thoughts are felt by other people. Just as the fig tree was negatively affected by the woman's negative thoughts, I believe people are affected by our thoughts.

What we think about people not only affects them, it also affects the way we treat them when we are around them. If I think secretly about how much I don't like someone and mentally go over all the faults I believe they have, when I see them I treat them according to the image I have formed in my mind."

Think about how all our relationships would improve if we would seek to bless people with our thoughts, especially those we have been the most critical of in our minds.  A powerful lesson here!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Joyful Mother of Many Children (LDSEHE basic talk outline + Distance Ed. Thoughts)


Happy & Relaxed 
My daughter put together this puzzle and gave it to me for my birthday last year and it hangs on the wall in my bedroom.  The content and relaxed mother in this picture is the goal, my ideal.  But we mother's of many or even a few young children know it really can "be a puzzle" to figure out how to get there!  (This end goal is also the purpose of my six strategies post.)

Going in Circles
Home-schooling with young children and babies can sometimes make us feel like all we are doing is “going in circles”. I called up my husband who was home in North Carolina caring for my four younger children while I was at the LDSHE conference with my baby and older children. When I asked him what he was up to he replied: “I’m going in circles.” I said, “Hmmm…sooo you’re getting a truly great Mr. Mom experience already?” He calmly responded: “No, I really am going in circles…I’m on a merry-go round at the park with the kids!” :)

Truth Sets Us Free
In spite of the obvious challenges of raising a family, I will be eternally indebted to a couple of religion professors at Brigham Young University who plainly taught the teachings of the prophets regarding having children and the importance of family.  We took their words purely by faith early on in our childbearing years, but that faith has turned into a knowledge that children are truly the greatest gift Heavenly Father can bestow upon us next to Eternal Life.  And through this amazing process we are being molded, shaped and hopefully becoming more holy by the grace of our Heavenly Father by our families! A more refined character can be the fruit of humbly raising children.

"If only I had known,,,"
Most people in our “sophisticated” society don’t understand the blessing and power of righteous family life.  And way too many people have suffered great pain and sorrow because of extreme selfishness of other family members. But some people, especially good women in the world, are gradually beginning to wake-up and realize what they have missed.

I met one of these women while attending a business conference with my husband on a rare get-a-way trip to San Diego a number of years ago. We had my nursing baby along with us, of course, and a very kind business woman would dote at my baby at breakfast or in the hallways of the hotel and likely thought this was our only child. I learned that she had a two year old son and was in her early forties, now divorced. One morning at breakfast she confessed that, “If only I knew, when I was younger, what I know now, I would have started early having children and just kept on having them until I could no longer have them anymore!"  In amazement I told her that this baby was my seventh and that’s pretty much what I’ve done!  She just looked at me in amazement and was completely speechless. :)  I mention this for those of you down in the trenches, so to speak, with lots of little ones.  Know that you are the envy of some, perhaps many if the truth be told, professional women out there in the world!


But how do you do this?!
We don’t do this without God, at least not successfully! The Lord is responsible for any and all successes our family will have.  All good things come from God! The more we can step back and put Christ at the helm of our lives and let go of our own pre-conceived notions, the more success we will experience. I testify to that.


Below are additional notes of comments I made while going over the “Six Strategies for Sanity" (see full post!) at the LDSEHE Conference.

1. Spiritual Oxygen
Mental challenges often seem greater than the physical, especially potential feelings of isolation and loneliness at times.

Giving up lots of reading and study time has also been  a very challenging thing for me as I add new babies to our home, (as well as for most other home-educating mom's that I know), but I’ve learned that we are taught valuable lessons by doing too!  A real revelation...:)  Raising a large family has tons of opportunities for DOING! We learn by study AND by FAITH! That means doing things that take faith in our life!


(And thank goodness for ipods, iphones and easy downloads of scriptures, conference talks and great audio books!)


I've discovered that reading the scriptures (esp. The Book of Mormon) with my children nourishes my spirit tremendously.  What a blessing to accomplish several important things at the same time: teaching reading, teaching gospel principles to children, and learning new things, through the Spirit, myself!

2. Cleanliness is Next to Godliness (Ok, so at least we try!)/Work for Order and Guard your Family: We do like the "Food Nanny Rescues Dinner" book and have used a lot of her recipes (esp. my 11 yr. old daughter) but many of her recipes are more complex than I prefer.  I love the theme night idea because sometimes I just don't want to use any more creative brain energy to think about what to make.  If I know a theme for that day it takes much less creative effort.  For example: If it's "stir-fry" night I steam some rice in my rice cooker, chop a few different vegetables and add some chicken from my freezer, or whatever I find in my freezer.  Of course we usually season this with a little garlic and onions in a small amount of oil before adding the veggies, as well as sometimes add other healthy seasonings.  If it's "Italian night" we can make spaghetti, lasagna, or noodles with a garlic/parmesan white sauce, etc.  "Mexican Night" could be bean burritos, taco salad, tacos, enchiladas, etc.  
(See the Six Strategies post for more info on this point #2.)

3. Use Self-Educating Curriculums or methods
It's important to have consistent goal setting sessions and just "checking in" on a consistent basis with each individual child.  The frequency will depend on the age and individual needs.  I just created a "Mom's Meeting Book" with a tab for each child.  When I meet with my children I am looking for ways I can best help them reach personal goals or perhaps help them with setting goals if they don't know quite what they are yet.  Just use common sense and treat your children the way you would have liked to be treated at their age.  Each personality is so unique and we have the great opportunity to guide them in a way that best fits them.  Use the spirit and you will know what to do in helping inspire them and guide them down a great educational path!  Not even an expensive private school can even do this as well as a loving, patient parent.  How often you meet with them depends also on the age of the children.  Interestingly, my older children feel the need to have these meeting more frequently than my younger children.


We also create charts where we can see our book list and the names of the children (we've added a TJed booklist recently).  They put either a mark or small sticker next to each book that they finish reading so we can see "at a glance" where everyone is. They track their math "error rate" on graph paper so we can see how their doing quickly, but mainly to motivate them to work carefully.  


A new book discovery that I highly recommend: "100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum: Choosing the Right Curriculum and Approach for Your Child's Learning Style" by Cathy Duffy
I love the principles of this author! She comes from a Christian perspective but is not overbearing and really gives great guidance in understanding yourself and your children as it pertains to home education. Excellent!!!


The only drawback we have seen with distance classes is the extra time it takes to watch and then do the homework. (We're spoiled as we are used to doing things very efficiently and quickly.) Another challenge could be if you're on a very tight budget, but that said, it can be worth real sacrifice if this is how your child will respond best. (K-12)


My oldest two children watched History, Science and English for many years through Liahona Academy.  They loved the History teacher, Brent DeGraff, the English teacher, Sister Wilburn is very good, and we were SO disappointed when the Science teacher, Richard Rush, retired.  Liahona doesn't officially start with students till around the fifth or sixth grade.  My oldest son started watching in the third grade when I started his fifth grade sister, Kristine.  He has told me more than once that the Liahona teacher's have positively affected his "thinking".  These two oldest children did not do Liahona on an accredited track so it was very low stress.  Quite a few years later, after starting the Liahona program, I enrolled my son in a couple classes outside the home, mainly because I was having difficulty motivating him to do his math.  I figured as long as I'm putting him in a couple classes I might as well add some other children, and after that we really struggled with making time to watch Liahona.  I realize now a much better solution would have been to have a tutor come in and work with my son either once or twice a week with math.  It would have been much less expensive and less stressful than what I ended up doing! Not only that, better educations for all would have resulted! (I don't recall prayerfully considering all those choices that year as I think I just felt desperate--never a good place to be when making decisions of any sort!)


I tried again several years later with my third and fourth children, but I must have been feeling quite over-confident while planning as I not only over-scheduled, I failed to go to my Heavenly Father in humble prayer again before making each commitment (hence point 4 below!)  We signed up for the Liahona full accredited track  (3 classes) and a new Science teacher went crazy with homework assignments.  These daughters were also doing French, piano and regular church activities outside the home and it was way too much added all together. We all burned out after one semester! (Liahona let that teacher go after that one semester, so I don't think we were the only people to drop!)

Please seriously consider Liahona, however, as it is the best teaching you will find (and its even LDS) which will give you greater chances for success.  But also consider not doing the accredited track and just enjoying the classes! :-)

4. Outside Activities: Less is More

I'm still looking for the scripture that states we need to sign up our children in multiple various outside activities.  Yes, I believe in developing talents, but we must KNOW or at least feel strongly that it is Heavenly Father's will before making regular commitments of our time and resources. (Will write later about oldest son's recent music experience.  Amazing!)

5. Know Your Personality Strengths and Weaknesses & Work to Improve.
Having the spirit is the most important thing to bring out the best in each of us, but we can still study and work to improve certain personality traits.  Much of our life is determined by the the decisions other people make about us.  It helps a great deal to simply be "likable".  Joseph in Egypt (from the Old Testament) is a great example of this as well as many others in the scriptures/Latter-day prophets.  

6. You’ve only got one body. Take care of it.
I love to go walking outside with my children and push my youngest two in the jogger stroller. 


 My experience has been that pregnancy can make your body even stronger IF you will give your body the nutrients it needs. That's a big "if" and we focus a lot of energy on striving to eat as healthy as we can (most of the time) and good supplements make a very big difference for me personally.

YOU CAN DO THIS!


It’s impossible, truly impossible, for us to look at our families and not think, with the help of my Heavenly Father, we have done/are doing something great with our life. Each child is such a miracle! 

Attitude is everything. We’re not any different or more amazing than any other woman out there.  But we happen to know true joy comes in "losing our life" by building up and nurturing others, not in building up ourselves or "finding our life". That is what the Lord Jesus Christ did. We serve “the least of these” because we love and in turn we are directly serving the Lord.  We become refined and purified as we turn our whole heart and mind to the Lord. Our better character is the fruit of this entire, often stretching, process called motherhood!



Monday, May 16, 2011

Peace Which Passeth All Understanding (LDSEHE)


Our family was living in Frankfurt, Germany when Elder Gene R. Cook and his family were assigned to Europe and lived in our ward. This was beyond "coincidence" as other than scriptures, his book (and audio cd’s), Raising Up a Family to the Lord, was the ONLY book we had brought with us. The Lord was truly mindful of our young family and greatly blessed us through this unique opportunity. I share some of these experiences below the seven ways to invite the Spirit in this post. We HIGHLY recommend Elder Cook's book and audio cd’s on the family (available at deseretbook.com or amazon.com)!

“If we ever allow pride to enter our hearts, thinking we know all about how to raise a family and that we ‘are really good parents,’ in that day the heavens will be sealed to us. But if we will humble ourselves and pray to the Lord as often as we can, the Lord truly will open our eyes that we may see and our ears that we may hear. I bear witness to that principle.” ~Gene R. Cook

How to invite the spirit & bring PEACE to your HOME (from Raising Up a Family to the Lord by Gene R. Cook):

1. Pray Fervently: Your children need to see prayer in action. Pray with them individually with all the energy of heart. Then they are in the Lord’s hands. He will give you revelation. He will change the heart of a child or a student or someone else who is not responding. He can do that. You can’t. All you can do, in large measure, is to help set up an environment where that can happen. (p.44)

2. Use Scripture: If parents can make sure that their children are exposed regularly to the words of the Lord, many of their problems will be solved in the children’s early years and will never come up later. “The preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just—yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them—“ Alma 31:4 (pp. 48-49)

 3. Testify frequently when teaching: One of the greatest spiritual tools the Lord has given us for influencing others, including our children, is the power of our own testimony. Testify frequently while teaching. This may even be more important than the thing you are teaching. If fathers and mothers will speak by the power of the Holy Ghost in love  and testimony to their children, the message will reach their hearts and can change them. (p. 49)

 4. Use Sacred Music:  Singing seems to bring the Spirit. If you ever feel down, get into the habit of singing to yourself. Sing those sacred hymns, and they will fill you with the Spirit of the Lord. (p. 53)
Use uplifting music while working, driving, dressing, etc. Some music that has helped us: Women of Destiny Vol. I & II, Eliza R. Snow’s Greatest Hymns, Kenneth Cope, Hilary Weeks, Children’s Primary Songs, all Hymns, etc.  Visit www.ldsmusicnow.com for downloads and more great music.

 5. Express Love and Gratitude to God and Man: It is impossible to stand up and express love for the Lord and not have the Spirit of the Lord come upon you. If you want to bring the Spirit of the Lord into your home, you must learn yourself and teach your children how to regularly express love and gratitude to God and to one another. Love has tremendous power. I don’t know anything more powerful than throwing your arms around your children every day. (p.58)

 6. Share Spiritual Experiences: But only as prompted under the direction of the Spirit. Elder Cook believes strongly in recording in some detail his key experiences week after week or the feelings that attended them are soon lost.  Then share when time is right.

 7. Use Priesthood Ordinances: Parents should teach their children to ask for priesthood blessing fairly regularly when they have a need. We probably need a blessing many more times than we ask for one. (p. 69)


I believe in mercy and my life is a testimony of that principle! The picture of our family at the top of this blog is just one example of mercy coming through just when we need it!  We were all dressed and ready for pictures and drove in two separate cars to a huge Christmas tree in the city to use as our back drop (for our Christmas card) as the sun was setting.  Well, of course, we got there a bit later than we had hoped and there wasn’t any sun left to use for soft lighting in our photo. We decided to just drive to a little higher ground before the sun would be completely gone for the day and find a spot, ANY spot, to take our picture! We had just left the first area and were waiting at a stop-light. I strained to see down the unfamiliar street in front of us and saw a bit of sunlight.  I motioned for my husband to follow me and we found an empty, ugly and old parking lot.  However, the lighting was PERFECT, so we quickly parked and had everyone jump out of the car. One of my youth kept making the comment, “You’ve got to be kidding.”  I threw our camera on a tripod, everyone jumped into a random pose and we pushed the auto timer button. You can see the results above! Mercy beats justice any day!





Any Perfectly Peaceful Families?
Do you think there is family out there that has completely mastered “Peace in the home”? If the answer is “yes” then that family is ready be translated! As long as any of us has any degree of imperfections, faults, weaknesses, etc. found in us, there will be opportunities for some conflict. We know that Jesus Christ was the only perfect soul to walk on the earth. So rather than waste time feeling guilty, lets face the challenges head on as various issues come up and then move on.

Christ is “Prince of Peace” vs. Satan is father of Contention
However, this is certainly an issue we cannot take lightly because the scriptures teach very clearly that the devil is the source of all contention and that Christ is the “Prince of Peace”.

More Chance for Conflict or More Good Example Time?
As home-educating families it is true that we do have many more chances for interaction daily than the average family. Not only that, we mother’s (and perhaps fathers) feel the weight of our children’s future in such personal ways upon our shoulders. Yet we still have a home to manage, church callings, a long list of other duties and a spouse to support.  And the dads usually feel the very heavy weight of providing for all our financial needs and wants. If we are not VERY careful all of these demands can add up to weary hearts and minds instead of peaceful hearts and minds. This is not a journey for the faint hearted! But I still see home-education as more opportunities for setting a good example for your children rather chances for more conflict.

I am here to testify that with the Lord by our side we can accomplish great things in our homes. But only with the Lord. There is not a person on this planet who is smart enough or talented enough to raise a righteous family without constant Divine assistance.

A "Child" Is What?

After we had our first child my husband and I would often be puzzled by the verses of scripture that talk about how children are humble and submissive. Our first child was very determined and strong-willed! I remember feeling like I must be a complete failure as a parent as it seemed she would just never listen to me! So when my brother highly praised a parenting fireside by Elder Gene R. Cook I didn’t hesitate to buy the tapes (now cd’s.)  I was deeply inspired and humbled by the things he taught and began to apply the principles with my daughter.

With All the Energy of Heart

 The first principle Elder Cook teaches in his chapter on how to invite the Spirit from Raising Up a Family to the Lord :
Pray Fervently: “Your children need to see prayer in action. Pray with them individually with all the energy of heart. Then they are in the Lord’s hands. He will give you revelation. He will change the heart of a child or a student or someone else who is not responding. He can do that. You can’t. All you can do, in large measure, is to help set up an environment where that can happen.” (p.44)

This was the one main thing I did differently with her. The first time I had to hold her on my lap while she tried to get away! But I know she felt the Spirit as I prayed with all the energy of my heart and as I literally cried unto our Heavenly for her to feel His love and my love for her!

Soon after this experience of praying with my daughter and couple of times my mother-in-law mentioned to me that she noticed a difference in her and wondered what I had been doing. It was really not what I had done, it was what the Lord had done.  I was only an instrument in his hands.  And to know this daughter today is a tremendous blessing!  She is a true leader in every sense of the word and has used that leadership for the good of other’s all through her growing up years. She has done this by reaching out in unconditional love and friendship to all she meets.  She has made a real difference in the lives of countless friends and associates. I know because they write me letters and thank me for her.  [And she has already served as a Relief Society President, a Gospel Doctrine teacher, a Student Council member at LDS Business college, earned excellent grades and recently scholarship money for BYU.  Before leaving for college she also spoke in our Stake Conference in NC.  All this by the age nineteen!]

As she grew and different situations or choices would arise I would send her to the Lord in prayer for answers and she began young (the VERY best time) to feel the promptings of the spirit.  This is a huge key to reducing conflict in the home.  Start on the small questions that come along like perhaps,  “Should I take violin or piano lessons?” etc.

Coincidence or More Tender Mercies?
Not long after this experience with my daughter we had the chance for my husband to work in Frankfurt, Germany for nearly a year. We packed up our young family of three children and just took a few suitcases.  Other than scriptures, the only other book we brought was Elder Cook’s Book “Raising Up a Family to the Lord”.  Amazingly he, along with his wonderful family, was assigned to a European area presidency within a few weeks of our arrival.  They would actually be our fellow ward members! 

One day we had to drive a good distance to a church activity and decided to listen again to Elder Cook’s powerful talk on the family.  It’s quite a long fireside and yet the timing was perfect: just as we pulled into our street in Frankfurt the last tape ended.  I recall the feeling in the car--the spirit was very strong--and I think my husband and I both felt impressed to rededicate ourselves to the principles he just taught so beautifully.

But, the Lord wasn’t finished impressing our minds with these truths quite yet because guess who the two youth speakers were in church the next morning?! Elder Cook’s two son’s, ages fourteen and sixteen years old! Words cannot describe their humble and sincere testimonies of our Savior.

And I can testify that the better we have applied these things, the greater peace and success we have enjoyed in our home! Of course we have fallen short many times, but the tender mercies of our Heavenly Father are always available when we humble ourselves and renew our efforts.  To quote Elder Cook from his book:

“In most cases, children who have the Spirit of the Lord with them are alert and responsive to brothers and sisters and their parents. Rebellious, disobedient children do not have the Spirit. They look down at their feet, won’t look you in the eye, and when asked a question do not respond or do so reluctantly. I bear testimony that if we will teach our children to have the Spirit of the Lord, They will be responsive not only to the Lord but to their parents and brothers and sisters as well. Perhaps that is one of the final measures of the degree to which people have the Spirit—they are responsive to the Lord and to their fellowman.”

If we want to have a "peace which passeth all understanding” in our home, we as parents need to obtain the spirit so we can teach our children how to have the spirit.  That’s it. That is the only “formula” to be given in good conscience.  Every home, mother, father and child is completely unique and individual. And that is what makes this adventure called parenthood most wonderful and exciting!



Monday, May 9, 2011

"Quick & Powerful" Tools: Change your Thoughts, Change your Life!



Think of the difference in wet cement vs. solid, firm cement when you think of your mind.  


We must use the truth daily to keep our minds firm. Work to "set" your mind firmly on the higher things of life. 


The results can be astounding and are in direct proportion to the degree of mental self-discipline we exercise.  Our "natural" (Mosiah 3 ) emotions/feelings are "fickle" and will often change for the worst just when we need positive feelings the most! They are often determined by such variables as sleep, food, other people's moods, "that time of the month", our state of health, etc. Do you want your life's destiny to be at the mercy of things so unpredictable, undependable and vulnerable?! 
Start to develop a firm mind by identifying perhaps five of your most frequent negative feelings. (See examples below to get you started!) Choose your favorite opposing scripture verse for each and post them all around your house until you have them memorized. Then choose another five and keep going for a better life for not only you but your entire family.
What a great blessing this will be in your life!  I cannot count how many times I have used Isaiah 40:31(see below) when I "felt" like I was perhaps too tired to serve a need in my home or family. And yet after running the verse through my mind, that "feeling" would dissipate and I could continue on doing what I needed to do with renewed strength and energy. (This doesn't work so well, however, if I consistently choose to stay up late or eat poorly!)
Let us beware to not ever mistake our "natural feelings" for the Spirit of the Lord.  "Emotion" does not always equal a "spiritual experience" but very likely just an "emotional experience" (which hormones can often play a very large role!) We can and must have spiritual feelings, of course, but they will be positive, uplifting, nourishing and sometimes they may even be a warning. But they will be consistent with a peaceful heart and mind. We must learn to distinguish the difference at all times or we may hurt others and also deceive ourselves!


"People who have no knowledge of the Word of God are led by feelings and thoughts.  People grounded in the Word of God know that feelings and thoughts will lead to disaster." ~Joyce Meyer (Conflict Free Living)

So what are you waiting for? Change you thoughts and change your life.


“Yea, we see that whosoever will may lay hold upon the word of God, which is quick and powerful, which shall divide asunder all the cunning and the snares and the wiles of the devil, and lead the man [or woman] of Christ in a strait and narrow course across that everlasting gulf of misery…”  Helaman 3:29
"Our thoughts cause us to have certain attitudes and perspectives; they affect our relationships; they determine how productive we will be personally and professionally; and they greatly influence the overall quality of our lives. We absolutely must understand the power of thoughts!" (Joyce Meyer)

If you’re feeling overwhelmed:

…The Lord is able to do all things according to his will for the children of men, if it so be that they exercise faith in him. Wherefore let us be faithful to him.  ~1 Nephi 7:12


"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God." ~Romans 8:28

If you’re feeling exhausted or fatigued:

“But they that wait upon the Lord [as in serve] shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint.”
~Isaiah 40:31

If you’re feeling down or unloved:

"O all ye that are pure in heart, lift up your heads and receive the pleasing word of God, and feast upon his love; for ye may, if your minds are firm, forever." ~Jacob 3:2

If you’re feeling discouraged:


Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.  ~Ether 12:4

If you’re feeling worried or fearful:

“For God hath not given us the Spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” ~2 Timothy 1:7

“O…greatly beloved, fear not: peace be unto thee, be strong, yea, be strong.” ~Daniel 10:19

If you’re feeling anxious, afraid or impatient:

“Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.” ~Psalm 27:14

If you’re feeling confused or indecisive:

"...feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do." ~2 Nephi 32:3

If you’re feeling concerned about the behavior of loved ones:

“It was the faith of Nephi and Lehi that wrought the change upon the Lamanites, that they were baptized with fire and with Holy Ghost.” ~Ether 12:14

If you’re feeling doubtful:

“…Faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.” ~Ether 12:6

If you’re feeling lazy
"[Jesus] went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him."~Acts 10:38





“But wilt though know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead.” ~James 2:20

"For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father."~Mosiah 3:19

If you’re feeling weak, fearful or unconfident:


"...I fear not what man can do; for perfect love casteth out all fear." ~Moroni 8:16


"Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, not be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee." ~Deuteronomy 31:6

“If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible to you.” ~Matthew 17:20


If you’re feeling self-pity:

“…all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good. The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?” ~Doctrine & Covenants 122:7,8

If you’re feeling persecuted or verbally attacked:

“Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings." ~Isaiah 51:7

“But behold I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you…” ~3 Nephi 12:44


"A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.” ~Proverbs 15:1

If you’re feeling impatient with others:

“…If ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail.” ~ Moroni 7:46


"And seek the face of the Lord always, that in patience ye may possess your souls, and ye shall have eternal life."~Doctrine & Covenants 101:38


If you're feeling tired:


"Teach them to never be weary of good works, but to be meek and lowly of heart; for such shall find rest to their souls." ~Alma 37:34


If you're feeling proud:
"...none is acceptable before God save the meek and lowly in heart"~Moroni 7:44


If you're feeling angry:


"And seek the face of the Lord always, that in patience ye may possess your souls, and ye shall have eternal life."~Doctrine & Covenants 101:38





And why exactly is all of this SO IMPORTANT?!


"...If ye do not watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds, and observe the commandments of God, and continue in the faith of what ye have heard concerning the coming of our Lord, even unto the end of your lives, ye must perish. And now, O man (or woman), remember, and perish not."~Mosiah 4:30


Happy mind "exercising"!