Monday, March 11, 2013

New Beginnings

Last Wednesday I took Mary to New Beginnings, the kick-off activity for Personal Progress each year. The leaders prepared the cutest activity! It was a football theme and the everything fit together so well. The leaders all had shirts labeled with their positions; for example, the president was "head coach", the Personal Progress specialist was "special teams", the counselors were offensive and defensive coordinators, etc. The front of the shirts each had a letter or symbol which, when they all stood together, spelled "UR #1 FANS!". There was a talk by Sister Moser on the theme, a half-time talk by Brother Hafen, and then Sister Campbell led the girls in a Jeopardy!-style game where each answer was worth 6 points. Whichever team got the answer right got to kick a giant inflatable football into a giant inflatable goal post for the extra point. That was so much fun. There were two other games, a bean bag toss and a ring toss onto an inflatable hat. After that there were "concessions" of popcorn, nachos, and cotton candy. It was a really great night and by far the most fun I've ever had at New Beginnings!

Mary and Taya with their treats.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Lift Where You Stand

Last Sunday Sister Callihan taught a lesson based on President Uchtdorf's 2008 talk called Lift Where You Stand.

"Some years ago in our meetinghouse in Darmstadt, Germany, a group of brethren was asked to move a grand piano from the chapel to the adjoining cultural hall, where it was needed for a musical event. None were professional movers, and the task of getting that gravity-friendly instrument through the chapel and into the cultural hall seemed nearly impossible. Everybody knew that this task required not only physical strength but also careful coordination. There were plenty of ideas, but not one could keep the piano balanced correctly. They repositioned the brethren by strength, height, and age over and over again—nothing worked.

As they stood around the piano, uncertain of what to do next, a good friend of mine, Brother Hanno Luschin, spoke up. He said, 'Brethren, stand close together and lift where you stand.'

It seemed too simple. Nevertheless, each lifted where he stood, and the piano rose from the ground and moved into the cultural hall as if on its own power. That was the answer to the challenge. They merely needed to stand close together and lift where they stood."

President Uchtdorf went on to say that the Lord expects each of us to do whatever we are called to do, whether it be large or small, to simply lift where we stand.

Two sisters in our class shared stories that really touched me. The first was a lady (a visitor) who said that in her ward a couple she knew were called to be greeters. The couple was to stand at the door to the chapel before the meeting, shake hands, welcome members, and hand them a program. The woman in this couple felt that calling was beneath her abilities and was a little insulted to be asked to do such an small job. However, she did fulfill her assignment. After many months a single older woman came up to this greeter and said, "I feel like you are the only one who knows or cares that I come to church. You ask me how I am and make me feel like I belong." How does that change the significance of the assignment? To make a difference in the life of one person is to be an angel here on earth.

Another sister, a new member, shared how much she loves her calling washing the baptismal clothes. She said, "When I pick up the clothing I think of the person who wore them and what it means now that they are baptized. My calling is doing laundry and I love it!" What a wonderful service to provide, especially on the heels of her own baptism a few short months ago.

That lesson helped open my eyes to the many people who serve without fanfare, accolades, or public recognition. I think of the parable of the talents in Matthew 25. The first two servants were given a certain amount of talents based on their abilities; they both doubled their talents. The Lord was pleased with their efforts and says to them in verses 21 and 23:

His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

Where we serve is not nearly as important as HOW we serve. I hope that I always accept callings with the humility and wisdom to know that I am part of a great work of building the kingdom of God; I hope that I always find the strength to lift where I stand.

Sunday, March 3, 2013


It's been about two months since I started on my road to better living. I still feel good and have more energy. I am still committed to clean eating and exercising my heart through walking and yoga. I am focused and energized by my progress--to date I have lost 10 pounds! In times past I have lost much more weight more quickly through starvation, diet pills, and other crutches. But now my goal is to be healthy rather than be skinny; healthy is a lifestyle while skinny is just a number on a scale.

Here's what I've done:

--Tracked everything I've eaten, every single day, on a website called
--Walked briskly for 20-45 minutes, every day.
--Yoga several times a week. I've found a few routines I like on YouTube.
--Go on to the Health and Fitness category on Pinterest to keep myself motivated. And then I go to Women's Fashion and think about cute clothes.
--Pray for strength.

While the family is supportive of my changes, life has not been rosy for them:

--The house is a wreck.
--I don't make fun FHE treats or even plan very family-friendly meals. Sometimes I don't make dinner at all.
--I get annoyed when they go out for fast food or, heaven forbid, bring home doughnuts. (That's only happened once.)

Anyway. Everyone has actually been great. People are very encouraging.

Sorry if this seems self-indulgent to say but I am proud of myself. I lived so long not believing I could do this--too, too long.

 But now I'm doing it. And I'm loving it.