August 23, 2012

Come Unto Christ

The text below is from an article I wrote for our Ward Newsletter...

I have recently been reminded that the struggles we all experience in mortality can be very trying and difficult. None of us are spared from troubles and at times it may seem like we’ve received more than we signed up for. How grateful I am for the Savior who does not leave us to bear them alone.  When we face difficulties that seem beyond our ability to endure, instead of submitting to despair and discouragement, we should submit to Christ who knows exactly how we are feeling because He felt it too as part of his atoning sacrifice. Alma testified that Christ “shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people... that his bowels may be filled with mercy, … that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.” (Alma 7:11)

I believe that every kind means literally that. He experienced everything we will ever face during our mortal journey. He suffered not just for pains that come from disobedience or sin, but he also suffered for injustices, for heartaches, for struggles and trials that are no fault of our own. And He didn’t just suffer them, He overcame them, thus enabling us to do the same if only we will follow His invitation to, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden. . . . And ye shall find rest unto your souls." (Matthew 11:28–29) If we will come unto Christ, we will be “supported under trials and troubles of every kind, yea, and in all manner of afflictions.” (Alma 36:27) It is my testimony that Jesus Christ has the power to help us in all things. Nothing is beyond His reach.

There is no mistake He cannot rectify.
There is no suffering He cannot soothe.
There is no fear He cannot calm.
There is no anxiety He cannot comfort.
There is no pain He cannot ease.
There is no addiction He cannot overcome.
There is no abuse He cannot heal.
There is no neglect He cannot console.
There is no burden He cannot lighten.
There is no wayward soul He cannot reclaim.
There is no heart He cannot soften.
There is no relationship He cannot repair.
There is no weakness He cannot strengthen.
There is no testimony He cannot revive.

George Q. Cannon once taught, “No matter how serious the trial, how deep the distress, how great the affliction, [God] will never desert us. He never has, and He never will. He cannot do it. It is not His character [to do so]. He is an unchangeable being; the same yesterday, the same today, and He will be the same throughout the eternal ages to come. We have found that God. We have made Him our friend, by obeying His Gospel; and He will stand by us. We may pass through the fiery furnace; we may pass through deep waters; but we shall not be consumed nor overwhelmed. We shall emerge from all these trials and difficulties the better and purer for them, if we only trust in our God and keep His commandments.” ("Freedom of the Saints," Collected Discourses, 2:185)

Jesus Christ is the only sure way to make it through this life and into the next, yet He does not force us to follow Him. Instead He extends an invitation to each of us and waits for us to come unto Him. We come unto Christ by being baptized. We come unto Christ by obeying His commandments. We come unto Christ by partaking of the Sacrament. We come unto Christ by worshipping in the Temple. We come unto Christ by helping others to do the same. Worldly logic and solutions to life’s problems do not have sufficient power to save us. It is only through Christ and His atoning sacrifice that we can truly “drop our burden at His feet, and bear a song away.” (LDS Hymnal, How Gentle God’s Commands) I pray that each of us will do whatever is necessary to come unto Christ without delay so that He can heal our troubles of every kind.

August 21, 2012

2012 First Day of School

Maddy and Joey begin a new school year again today, Maddy in 11th grade and Joey in 10th. Both are now in High School. Maddy also drove Joey to school for the first time ever. Where in the world has the time gone. Jeni and I are so grateful that they are so close. Here are the traditional back to school pictures.

August 19, 2012

Marshall McDonald

A few weekends ago Joey and I had the privilege of attending a hymn composition workshop with Marshall McDonald, composer of one of our favorite CD's, "This is the Christ." It's full of beautiful hymn arrangements and original compositions and he played our favorite "Reflections of the Master" near the end of the workshop. It was very inspiring to be there. Joey has begun picking out songs he's heard and starting to write his own arrangements to the timing of the workshop was great.

August 18, 2012

Temple Square Tour

Last week we took nearly 50 youth up to Salt Lake City for a tour of Temple Square. Missionaries led us through the Beehive House, Temple Square, the Visitor's Center, the Tabernacle and the Conference Center. I am always impressed with how clean Temple Square is and the wonderful Spirit that is there. Below are pictures from the trip.

August 16, 2012

I Can!

Yesterday thanks to the help of a very kind neighbor, I took the tomatoes from our garden (two shopping bags full), made them into a tomato sauce and then canned them! The process wasn't as difficult as I'd always imagined but it did take some time.

I first cut up the tomatoes into quarters, placed them in pans, added balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic, salt and and pepper, mixed it all together then baked them in the oven for 40 minutes at 400 F. Then, I used my immersion blender to blend it all together, adding basil and oregano from our garden and then canned them. All in all I ended up with 12 cans of homemade sauce which will save me from having to make a batch each time we want some. Whoever invented "canning" was a genius!

August 12, 2012

We Are Family

This year Maddy and three of her friends from the High School were invited to sing "We Are Family" at the 2012 Evening Salem Days program. There were over 1000 people there for the program and fireworks. Maddy's group was the final number and they looked great in their 70's attire and sounded even better. Below is the video of their performance. Above is a picture of Maddy and her friend Hayden.