"The world is fairly studded and strewn with pennies cast broadside from a generous hand. But who gets excited by a mere penny?...It is dire poverty indeed when a man is so malnourished and fatigued that he won't stoop to pick up a penny. But if you cultivate a healthy poverty and simplicity, so that finding a penny will literally make your day, then, since the world is in fact planted with pennies, you have with your poverty bought a lifetime of days. It is that simple. what you see is what you get." ~Anne Dillard
A few of the small and wonderful things which bring untold joy into my life. It's the small things in life which truly mean the most. Simple abundance . . . it's the best.
I had a Relief Society Training meeting last night at our chapel. Our church often has extra meetings like this. Each of us in the church has a "calling" which is a responsability each of us takes on to help keep the church running smoothly. We have no paid clergy. We, each of us, partake of the work and keep things going to the best of our ability. These training meetings help us to do what we've been asked to do by the Lord better and they are always very inspiring and uplifting. Anyways, as I sat there listening last night I was inspired to tell each of you the small and simple things which Todd and I do together as a couple and a family and as individuals each week that help to keep us grounded and that make us happy, and we are very, very happy. I would want no other life besides the one I am living. It is a good life, a full life . . . an abundant life.
There are lots of people out there that do not consider Mormons to be Christians. But I live my entire life according to His teachings and principles and example. I am not perfect, but He makes up the difference. Todd and I both do. This is what helps to keep us grounded . . . and makes us happy as individuals and as a couple and as a family, as small as ours may be!
Daily prayer, singularly and together as a couple. If we had children they would also be included in this beautiful experience. There is something so very wonderful in being able to pray together as a family. There is a beautiful power in it and a strength that comes into your family by being able to go to the Lord together.
Daily family and individual Scripture study. My whole life I prayed to be able to do this and now I can. It is such a wonderful thing to be able to share with the ones you love the power, wisdom and love that comes from studing God's word daily. Everything we need to know about living and dying are on those sacred pages. Everything we need to know about becoming better people, husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, friends . . . I cannot tell you the number of times I have been feeling down or needing inspiration and I have cracked open my scriptures and the help I need, the words I needed to read . . . they are there for me. Exactly as I needed them to be. The Gospel is not about standing still . . . it's about a journey of becoming the best that we can be and a journey of love. The scriptures are our road map for the journey.
As a body of the church we are asked to hold Family Home Evenings each week. This applies to families and individuals, no matter the size of the family. Even people who are on their own can have a family home evening and I know many, many singletons who get together as a group and share a special evening of companionship with each other and I know many, many families who invite singletons to share their family home evenings with them. Why do we do it? Because it strengthens us as a family. Monday nights are reserved throughout the Church for family home evenings. Members are encouraged to set aside this time to strengthen family ties and teach the gospel in their homes. It is done in a loving and a fun way. When my children were younger before the divorce, etc. when I was investigating the church, we held family home evenings together and I know my children have fond memories of those family times. You don't have to be a member of the church to set aside one night a week to do something together as a family. I promise you that if you do even this one thing . . . as a couple, or as a family, or even as a group of friends . . . your lives will be immeasurably better and fuller.
Attending church each Sunday and partaking of the sacrament, renewing our Baptismal covenants which we made when we were Baptised. Pondering and praying and worshiping. I would not miss church on a Sunday. That is when my spiritual battery gets recharged. There are some Sundays when I feel lazy and would rather stay home, but I always, always go, unless I am sick and cannot. I am always, always happy that I have gone. Always.
Going to the Temple. Whenever there has been a righteous people upon the earth, God has commanded his people to build temples. As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints we are so very blessed to have a Temple not too far from us. It is a place of peace. A place of strength, a sacred place. Being able to go there as individuals, couples, and families is a great blessing in our lives. From there we can gain inspiration, unspotted from the World. Todd and I were sealed together as a couple for Time and All Eternity in the Preston, England Temple. It was a wonderful and very special day to us, more special even than the civil ceremony which we had in the chapel earlier on that same day. We had our friends around us as we knelt together at an altar of the Lord and clasped hands, looking into each others eyes as we were joined together in that very special way. A bond that cannot be broken by death. It was such a special day for us, and a sacred thing to be able to experience. I feel the sacredness of that day and many others whenever I go to the Temple. I feel closer to my Heavenly Father in the temple than I do anyplace else on earth Being in the Temple is like a little glimpse of Heaven. I wish everyone could feel what it feels like to be in the Temple. You have to be worthy to go into the Temple. You can read more about that here.
Acts of service. They do not have to be grand or for the whole world to see. They are the small and simple gestures we practice every day, which help to lessen the burdens in another's life. It could be something as simple as simply listening, or the squeeze of a hand, or a hug, a smile . . . we can serve others in a multitude of ways. It is loving and it is selfless. It is without expectation of anything in return. It is being the Saviour's hands. It is what makes a life worth living.
Our opportunities to give of ourselves are indeed limitless, but they are also perishable. There are hearts to gladden. There are kind words to say. There are gifts to be given. There are deeds to be done. There are souls to be saved.
~Thomas S Monson
Sharing my testimony. I do this in the way I choose to live my life. In the words I speak. In the love and service I share with others. I do not have to stand on a soap box and expound the virtues of the Gospel in order to share my Testimony. The truth is, people will pay far closer attention to the things that I do than the things that I may or may not say. It is lovely to be able to share the words with people too and sometimes they will listen. We are the Saviours hands and feet. Our actions should be his. Our actions should be loving and kind . . . and sincere. A man who speaks the words of God, but then belies them by acting in an ungodly manner . . . sad.
Having said that however, there is something very special tin being able to share the things I know to be true with my words and voice as well. Sharing them with others helps to strengthen me and my will to live the Gospel.
When we bear testimony, we declare the absolute truth of the gospel message. In a time when many perceive truth as relative, a declaration of absolute truth is not very popular, nor does it seem politically correct or opportune. Testimonies of things how ‘they really are’ (Jacob 4:13) are bold, true, and vital because they have eternal consequences for mankind. Satan wouldn’t mind if we declared the message of our faith and gospel doctrine as negotiable according to circumstances. Our firm conviction of gospel truth is an anchor in our lives; it is steady and reliable as the North Star. A testimony is very personal and may be a little different for each of us, because everyone is a unique person.~
These are small things. These are simple things. They may not ever be the cause of mountains moving, but they are the things which bring both Todd and myself immeasurable joy in our lives, both as individuals and as a family. These simple things have the power to change lives in wonderful ways. I know this to be true because they have changed mine.
A thought to carry with you through today . . .
“Cultivate an attitude of happiness. Cultivate a spirit of optimism. Walk with faith, rejoicing in the beauties of nature, in the goodness of those you love, in the testimony which you carry in your heart concerning things divine.”
~Gordon B Hinckley
Baking in The English Kitchen today . . . Pumpkin Spice Bread.
Have a great Wednesday. Thanks for putting up with me!