Friday, August 30, 2013

An High Priest of Good Things to Come

This talk was EXACTLY what I needed to hear today. Every word of it:

To any who may be struggling to see that light and find that hope, I say: Hold on. Keep trying. God loves you. Things will improve. Christ comes to you in His “more excellent ministry” with a future of “better promises.” He is your “high priest of good things to come.”

Only one who has fought against those ominous waves is justified in telling us—as well as the sea—to “be still.” Only one who has taken the full brunt of such adversity could ever be justified in telling us in such times to “be of good cheer.” Such counsel is not a jaunty pep talk about the power of positive thinking, though positive thinking is much needed in the world. No, Christ knows better than all others that the trials of life can be very deep and we are not shallow people if we struggle with them. But even as the Lord avoids sugary rhetoric, He rebukes faithlessness and He deplores pessimism. He expects us to believe!

Even if you cannot always see that silver lining on your clouds, God can, for He is the very source of the light you seek. He does love you, and He knows your fears. He hears your prayers. He is your Heavenly Father, and surely He matches with His own the tears His children shed.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Milah at 16 Months

Oakland Temple Trip

I had such an amazing experience at the Oakland temple seeing the new film. It was neat to see the young couples who had just been sealed for eternity because it caused me to reflect on my own experience being sealed to Danny and going through the temple for the first time. 
Also, this is the temple where Mom and Dad were sealed. I had never been, but I've done a watercolor painting of the Oakland temple for my parents'; and when you paint things, it brings you closer to them. I also thought about Eden going soon and how wonderful this will be for her to experience. I had Danny on my mind the whole time -- I can't wait for him to go! 
While thinking about the covenants we make in the temple, I learned a few new things. I loved Eve's emotion when Satan speaks -- she clings to Adam. I feel this so often with Danny. I love waking up after a bad dream and asking him to hold me close because he is my protector. I see how women are there to support their husbands. 
One of the things that helped me to get the most out of my temple experience was studying Creation for the week beforehand. I pondered Genesis 3 which says   16 Unto the awoman he said, I will greatly bmultiply thy csorrowand thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth dchildren; and thy desire shall be to thy ehusband, and he shall rule over thee. 

Footnote B is interesting :HEB increase thy discomfort and thy size (i.e., in the condition and process of pregnancy).

And footnote C Sorrow = Suffering. 

This seemed especially applicable while being pregnant :) and very much seemed to relate to this: One of the great truths restored in our day is that we are literally spirit sons and daughters of God. In scriptures brought to light by the ProphetJoseph Smith, we read these words of our Heavenly Father: “I made the world, and men before they were in the flesh” (Moses 6:51; see alsoMoses 3:5). (Worlds without Number).

Another article that was brought to my mind over and over: Worlds Without Number from the Aug 2013 Ensign.
planetary nebula

Think about light -- this light that is in all things; through all things. That is God. 

This thought ran through my head in the temple over and over. It brought tears to my eyes as I watched the stars and cosmos -- the God of all these worlds cares about me! The purpose of his work is to bring about my immortality and eternal life so I can inherit what He has!
Caught up in the wonder of this expanding view of the cosmos, we can only kneel in awed reverence before Him, the creator and sustainer of it, and express gratitude that this divine, all-powerful Being is our Father. And we stand in stunned astonishment to learn that the purpose of all the work He has done is to bring about our immortality and eternal life (seeMoses 1:39). Knowing all this, should we not gladly obey His counsel and, with eagerness, receive the ordinances and covenants that will guide us to eternal life with Him?
merging star clusters
Together, all the galaxies in the visible universe contain an estimated 30 billion trillion stars. Yet that number may be a small fraction of all there are. Evidence suggests that we can see only about 5 percent of all there is (the rest is “dark matter” and “dark energy,” so called because it can’t be seen or detected directly by the instruments we have). The universe, in fact, may be infinite in size.
And God controls it all.

“This is a paradox of man: compared to God, man is nothing; yet we are everything to God. While against the backdrop of infinite creation we may appear to be nothing, we have a spark of eternal fire burning within our breast. We have the incomprehensible promise of exaltation—worlds without end—within our grasp. And it is God’s great desire to help us reach it.”
I also see why my hobbies are what they are -- they bring me closer to God. I realized that things are created spiritually before physically and that involves imaging things or sketching them (at least in our minds eye) to create something. I have found this in my home as well. I can't just start putting pictures up; I think and envision the finished product in my minds eye and sometimes draw it out first. 
Our lives should be the same way -- as we pray in the morning, we create our day in our minds; then we carry out this design and then report to Heavenly Father at the end of the day -- Elder Bednar, Pray Always. This is a form of creation, as is painting or drawing. Creation is essential to our fulfillment in this life -- as part of this, I purchased succulents for Danny to decorate his office and saved them until after the GMAT so he could create something that brings him joy. That is part of my responsibility; to help make home a happy, clean, joyful place where Dan can enjoy his time at home and feel at peace. Also, I realized why I love to garden -- it's so much more than just putting seeds in the ground and eating the fruit because it is inexpensive! It is about the law of the harvest; learning consistency. For me, I've had to learn that my flowers and even succulents die if I don't water them enough! That's like my spiritual self withers when I don't take time to feed it and give it living water. I love doing scripture study daily and recording my thoughts. I like how this woman, Shannon does scripture journaling.  Because I tend to keep the scriptures very closely applied to my life, I don't take time to scripture link and read the references and what the prophets say and record those actual words; I tend to stick to how it relates to my life. I like her system because it helps me have a scriptural learning experience that is more principal based rather than experience based. 
Finally, I was overwhelmed with the feeling that Dan is so good to me; such a wonderful spouse who sustains me. He handles pressure amazingly well -- it really never phases him. However, now that he is done with the GMAT we feel free! I can see the laughter in his eyes and the happy jokes that he makes. 
What a privilege to attend the temple. Thanks Missy for driving! Thanks Mia for watching Milah. This temple trip was one of the most special experiences of my life. 

Trip to San Francisco -- Pier 1 and the Botanical Gardens

Again, all these pictures are Mia's great work :) I had a baby in a stroller to worry about...

Milah's favorite activity -- touching beans! 

We had fun chatting while Milah took a good, long nap. 

This squirrel was so incredibly friendly. We didn't even feed him and he still ran right up onto Mia's lap! 

Milah loved the succulents as tall as her.

She loves to "sniff" the flowers. This was the "Garden of Scents" in the botanical gardens, so she was actually getting a whiff of lavender. 

 Sorry Milah, we had to include this one. We have many of these moments along the way too. She didn't want to leave the water. Milah LOVES water. She plays for hours in the sink while I clean or make dinner. She tries to drink the stream of water, puts it through a funnel, collects it in measuring cups, uses sponges (yes, I know bad mom) to wash the window above the sink etc.

Mom and Mia Visiting -- Canning

So...Dan took the GMAT Aug 17th and in preparation, we were spending about an hour together a day. Luckily, Dan's Mom and Mia came to help me out with Milah. I got so much done! It was great to get through the random stack of paper and mail that I hadn't; to pay bills; to get my new phone set up; print pictures for Dan's office and the basement; to learn to can fruit; clean; make some broth from juicing leftovers etc. We also had some fun down time watching Hudsucker Proxy, which made me think of Nicole -- I know it's one of her favorite movies and remember watching it with her and Jon when we were first dating. 

Welcome to the Holbrook kitchen where Missy taught me how to can peaches and pears. What fun!

The first night, we celebrated their arrival with dinner at Sprouts, our favorite Palo Alto Restaurant

Catch me if you can!!!
One of the most popular activities of the visit -- taking walks around the neighborhood. On this particular walk, we collected lots of apples on the ground and asked a woman for some grapefruits -- she said we could have them; so Missy and Mia had me stand on their hands and gather grapefruits! What a funny sight :)

Oakland Zoo and Cream-- Mia and Mom Visiting!

Thanks to Mia for all these awesome pics!!!

We had to make the token cream trip!

Stepping over stepping stones 1, 2, 3 -- though Milah just wanted to step in the water

She always climbs up the biggest steps, putting her foot up by her head. Somehow it works, though I'm not sure how :)