You’re not as lost as you may think

This video about the Provo City Center Temple hit me when I heard the phrase, “saving what was thought to be lost has enormous significance.” It isn’t just about rebuilding an historic building to beautify the city, it’s the entire message of the gospel encapsulated in one project.

Each of us is like the old building. Perhaps just outdated or worn, maybe even destroyed by sin. And Jesus Christ says to each of us, “you are precious and beautiful” and offers to rebuild us into a temple. Not just restoring what we originally were, but creating something magnificent.

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It requires our trust to repent and let Him be in charge. Follow His way of doing things. It’s not easy.

As The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints builds this temple, it is a symbol to me of everything Christ offers to the members of the church. In Christ’s church there are those who will serve you, programs to help with improvement, leaders who will lovingly guide you as you repent, and friends you can work with side-by-side as each of you slowly becomes more like the temple Christ is creating in you. And all possible because Jesus Christ made His infinite sacrifice to save every soul who would let Him.

Christmas Peace

These thoughts from Elder Anderson touched me as I read the December Ensign today.

I pray at this Christmas season that you might have some sense of the Lord’s regard for your offering, some sense of how you stand in His eyes, some sense of the beloved status you occupy as His son or His daughter. And I pray that knowledge of that status may give you a great deal of comfort, reassurance, and confidence that you are approved in His eyes….

With all of that to come, I think it’s appropriate this time of year to just think about that baby in the manger. Don’t be too overwhelmed or occupied with what is to come; just think about that little baby. Take a quiet, peaceful moment to ponder the beginning of His life—the culmination of heavenly prophecy but the earthly beginning for Him.


Take time to relax, be at peace, and see this little child in your mind. Do not be too concerned or overwhelmed with what is coming in His life or in yours. Instead, take a peaceful moment to contemplate perhaps the most serene moment in the history of the world—when all of heaven rejoiced with the message “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14).

Mary, mother of Jesus

Aside from Jesus Christ, Mary has attracted veneration and worship as the mother of the Son of God. I wanted to share my own thoughts about her.

Image from wikipedia

Mary came from a righteous family. It says in Luke 1:6 “And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.” This describes Elizabeth and Zacharias, but being related, I imagine it describes Mary’s parents and grandparents as well. What’s more, this family remained humble followers of Christ in a time of general apostasy. They were by lineage the leaders of the people, but were displaced from ruling, or at least not recognized by the current government and church leadership. Mary’s family may have been quite poor.

Mary was a faithful person, not doubt. Contrast Zacharias’s “Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years.” With Mary’s “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.” She had a quiet personality that kept these things and pondered them. She had questions to ponder: why am I chosen, am I worthy? How will I have a baby without being married? How do I prepare to be a mother to the Messiah?

Mary may have been beautiful
She may have looked like this Afghan girl. Image from national geographic.

Nephi calls Mary “most beautiful and fair above all other virgins.” If she was beautiful in the worldly sense, then it is that much more impressive that she was also humble. If she was beautiful in the spiritual sense, perhaps that is why she received the calling to be the mother of the Son of God. Perhaps she was beautiful in all of the meanings of the word, though Jesus did not inherit Mary’s physical beauty. “He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him there is no beauty that we should desire him.”


Mary and Joseph both saw an angel on separate occasions. Here are some of the beautiful words spoken by the angel. “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.” (Matt. 1:21) “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” (Luke 1:32-33)


Mary spent time with Elisabeth, pondering and piecing together the information about the promised Messiah. I am sure they studied Isaiah and other prophets to learn more about what was about to happen. “And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” (Isaiah 25:9) “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.” (Jer. 23:5) The prophesies scattered throughout scripture had answers, but some were purposefully vague, and Mary still had to exercise faith in her projected course.


Mary had real challenges to face as a virgin expecting a child. The social stigma made her vulnerable, and she depended on Joseph to protect and defend her. Mary’s was a unique mortal situation was likely incomprehensible to most of the people who knew her. I find it interesting that the plan involved our Savior being born to a virgin. “For I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women.” While the rest of the human family is conceived in sin, Jesus Christ came from a completely pure person. “Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” (James 1:15) Jesus was born of a virgin, had no sin, and overcame death.


Mary’s struggles continued. She endured a long journey to Bethlehem at the end of her pregnancy. The roads were crowded and dusty. As her journey progressed, her position became dire. She was in labor. There was no room for her to deliver her baby in privacy. Finally, a place was found, no matter how humble. After labor came joy at his birth and safe arrival.


The choirs of angel came then, to the shepherds. “And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” The shepherds then made their way to the stable, sharing the good news from the angels with Mary and Joseph.

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Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds were the first humble worshipers of Christ. “And the same word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (JST John 1:14). Except for the shepherd’s visit, the night would have been solitary for the new family. They did not see angels or hear choirs. The humble witness of common folk was the greeting Jesus received at birth. Our Christmas traditions of lights, bells, and decorations never adorned the first Christmas.


Mary’s journey did not end with Jesus’s birth. They traveled to the temple and home to Nazareth. Soon she and Joseph had to flee into Egypt. There Jesus spent his early years, far from any family other than his parents. Mary loved him and taught him as a young child. As he grew older, she had to allow him to pursue his own course. He became her teacher. Mary had to allow him freedom to complete his personal mission. She saw him suffer pain. She saw him realize his full potential. She understood him better than most of the people who knew him, and she stood by him even in death.


This year at Christmas, I rejoice in the gift of Jesus Christ, our Savior. I am grateful for Mary’s quiet example. She helped fulfill God’s plan for the salvation of all mankind.

Christmas movies to get the spirit

To kick off the Christmas season, celebrates with inspiring messages about Christ. Remembering the true meaning brings the Christmas Spirit.


I liked this summary of our world’s need for a Savior. It states simply and clearly things I have been discovering over a lifetime. We need Jesus Christ as desperately now as at any other time. His message of hope still rings out over the centuries, offering salvation to a lost world.

I enjoyed watching Jenny Oaks Baker’s rendition of O Come, O Come, Emmanuel. Check out the site for more inspiring music to share.

This Christmas, worship Jesus Christ. His hope and love makes the holiday season the most important season of the year.

Beauty in imperfection

As I age, I appreciate beauty everywhere, even in the imperfect. When I do something artistic, I like it to be a little asymmetrical. There is beauty in the realness of life experience. It’s still hard for us to see. We are used to constant images of near perfection. We’re like broken glass. Pretty, sure, but kind of junk.

image from
image from

God created us. He knows we’re broken and rough. But He loves us. “Think of the purest, most all-consuming love you can imagine. Now multiply that love by an infinite amount—that is the measure of God’s love for you.

“God does not look on the outward appearance. I believe that He doesn’t care one bit if we live in a castle or a cottage, if we are handsome or homely, if we are famous or forgotten. Though we are incomplete, God loves us completely. Though we are imperfect, He loves us perfectly. Though we may feel lost and without compass, God’s love encompasses us completely.” (Elder Uchdorf)

God loves us because He made us. He knows we have worth beyond what we see. He has plans to help us achieve our potential, the potential He created us for. He invites us to come closer to Him so we can feel His love and see His vision for us.

“He loves us because He is filled with an infinite measure of holy, pure, and indescribable love. We are important to God not because of our résumé but because we are His children. He loves every one of us, even those who are flawed, rejected, awkward, sorrowful, or broken. God’s love is so great that He loves even the proud, the selfish, the arrogant, and the wicked. What this means is that, regardless of our current state, there is hope for us. No matter our distress, no matter our sorrow, no matter our mistakes, our infinitely compassionate Heavenly Father desires that we draw near to Him so that He can draw near to us.” (Elder Uchdorf again)

God expends continual effort to give us this life to experience, and he knows even more perfectly than we do all about us, including our imperfections. He is willing to keep working with us in detail despite all our failures. And His plan is for us to succeed gloriously. He knows what He is doing.


Sister Marriot quoted President Hinckley in conference, saying “If you do your best, it will all work out. Put your trust in God. … The Lord will not forsake us.” It’s so hard to do, isn’t it? Trusting God when you don’t understand what He sees?

One thing we can do to understand God’s perspective of us is to pray. I have been working on my life handbook (slowly). One exercise I did was to write my most important goals and then prioritize them so I could see which ones I want to keep focused on daily and which are more long-term or lower priority. When I finished prioritizing everything I do, my top goal was to pray on my knees aloud morning and night. This was my top goal because my personal relationship with God is my highest priority. That being said, I have taken prayer for granted. I say prayers, not expecting a response, and sometimes not thinking much about God as I talk to Him. But if I want a better relationship with God, I need to be more sincere.

I believe our imperfections are beautiful to God because He knows we can overcome them. We see broken glass, He sees in us something else.

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Why I believe

I’m a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I’ve been a member since I was baptized at eight. I grew up in Utah and currently live in Arizona. I’ve experienced Mormon culture as I’ve participated in church. I want to talk about the  challenges and benefits I’ve experienced as a member.

Jesus Christ and Thomas
Jesus Christ and Thomas

Being a Mormon is challenging. There are plenty of doctrines and commandments to try to follow. I believe God expects me to continually improve. I not only do my best, I also acknowledge that my own efforts will never be enough. Only Jesus Christ has the power to overcome my human nature, so I must develop a relationship with him and learn how to connect with his limitless power. Sometimes I get bogged down in my “to-do’s” and feel distanced from God. Maybe I don’t know if what I’m accomplishing is really enough to qualify as my best effort and I wonder if I’ll still be good enough. I keep finding pride in myself and sometimes despair of my ability to be fixed. Some of the hardest times are challenges that seem to occur for no reason. I struggle to get through periods where I feel less enlightened, less connected to God, and less inspired. It’s hard to keep up the effort when my reasons to continue are based on trust and past experiences.

I may seem like a faithful Mormon, but I still struggle with the basics in the life I’ve chosen. I have a beautiful family of five children and a loving husband, which is my life’s dream. Despite this, I regularly feel overwhelmed, unable to keep up with the demands of caring for my family, including housework. Part of me still puts too much emphasis on outward appearances of success. If I seem to be accomplishing what I am asked I get asked to do more. I want to be able to accomplish more, but maybe I still struggle with doing what I’m working on now. I don’t feel like I regularly receive answers to my prayers, more often I go along and feel okay about my direction and once in awhile (if I pay attention) notice blessings along the way. I do feel the spirit of God in my home regularly, which is my most tangible connection to God. I would love to experience the peace and joy the gospel promises, but often I find myself reminding myself that life is mostly enduring.

One challenge of church membership I want to talk about is interacting with other members. The Mormon church welcomes anyone to follow the steps of faith, repentance, and baptism. Because all are invited, inevitably the members are anywhere on the road of discipleship. In the church, I’ve met some of the nicest people of my life. I see people that I admire and would like to emulate. But most of the members are regular people, sometimes shallow, easily caught up in appearances, with a tendency to gossip. Most members are so busy living our lives that actual deep friendships are rare. I tend to keep my own barriers to prevent a relationship being able to hurt me, which means if someone says or does something that hurts my feelings, I can brush it off. If I serve and expect something in return, I will probably be disappointed. When I am struggling, I wish there were more people out there to help lift me. Yet, the road of discipleship has always been lonely. It is not the yellow brick road with friends by your side. Since everyone is at a different place along their own narrow path, your challenges are usually yours to face alone.

So far, when my faith has ebbed and I feel unable to go on, there is still a conviction underneath that swells up again and carries me forward. I may not understand everything about my life direction, but any alternative I pursue doesn’t bring me the peace I seek.


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is unique. It claims things like being the only authorized church representing Jesus Christ on the earth, Divine inspiration and revelations, living prophets, angelic reception of priesthood authority, the imminent return of Jesus Christ, etc. The doctrines of the church are both fantastic and incredible, unbelievable to some and inspiring to others. For example, the church teaches that families are eternal. Our very concept of God is different, because we believe God is our literal Father and that we can someday live with God and be fathers and mothers in His extended family. Essentially, we believe in a God who is part of a relationship that connects Him eternally with us.

The demands and fantastic doctrines of the Mormon church can be hard to accept, yet they are the element that draws me in. Who would be so audacious as to say they were the only ones with authority to administer a church in Jesus’ name? Only a church who had been told so by God. Why would a church demand so much? Jesus said, “be ye therefore perfect.” Only God would. We struggle to realize happy family relationships, yet cling to the promise that happy families and healed relationships are one of the rewards of heaven. The unique ordinances of baptism and temples, as well as the doctrine of eternal families isn’t offered anywhere else. I don’t want to get into apologetics, and obviously there are lots of opinions about Mormon beliefs from inside and outside of the church. Still, I feel the spirit when I talk about these things, so for me they are true. The scriptures command baptism, and only baptism under proper authority will count. Despite the challenging nature of my beliefs, I believe that the rewards of this lifestyle more than surpass the demands. My own personal spiritual experiences have been positive, even sometimes overwhelming. To me, that is real.

Today I had a prayer answered. I have been praying to see how miracles still occur in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. At our stake conference, Elder Gay shared his testimony that Jesus Christ lives and really directs this church. He shared an experience where he gave a blessing to a young man who had been in a motocross accident and was paralyzed from the waist down. Three weeks after the blessing, the young man was able to walk. He shared a few other experiences, all of which felt powerful to me and directly answered my recent request. No, I didn’t see a miracle. I may not be worthy of that. I hope to be someday. But I know that the leaders of the church are good enough to ask for miracles and see them happen.

One obvious benefit I see from living the gospel is happy children. the strictness of living a life according to the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ help me provide my children a happy childhood and values that lead to success. while I don’t personally feel happy every day, I have a two year old who daily says, “I love you mommy. You are the best mommy.” My 13 month old still thinks his world revolves around me. I can pick him up and hold him close and just soak in his sweetness. My other children are cute and obnoxious by turns, as children usually are, so sometimes I enjoy being with them and other times I can’t stand them any more and ask my husband to take over. My own parents were able to give me a happy childhood despite their own shortcomings, which I treasure. So while I don’t feel happy all the time, when I look back over the past, my life has been happy. I don’t have regrets and there are lots of positive memories. Following the gospel has allowed me to experience that happiness.

I love that God knows me better than I know myself, that He sees where I am, and plans for my success despite my imperfections. I love the principles that have changed the direction of my life. I love the bridge between the divine and the messy reality of human existence. I love Jesus Christ, whose message is eternally of hope. Hope for all mankind. Hope for those who are lost, or struggling, or trying and failing. Or seem good outside but still need so much help inside. I love the church despite all of the imperfections of the real people I worship with on Sunday. I believe The Church of Jesus Christ is what it claims: the only church directed by Jesus Christ and representing Him on the earth.

I’ve been inspired by Nikki’s thoughts at LDS Woman at the Well. Her words describing God’s love resonate with me (and evidently with thousands of others). I like her honesty. She shared this, which describes why I am a Mormon even though I find it challenging to live my religion:

“Living the Gospel demands a lot, but living “in the world” I found demands a lot more and it gives a lot less. It has an insatiable appetite with standards that are impossible to meet. Unlike finding completeness in Christ, who came in the fullness of Truth and Grace, the world offers us nothing.”

I am Mormon even though my faith has caused me to do the things I find hardest in my life. And I plan to continue on, working to overcome those things that challenge me with the help of Jesus Christ.

Backpacking Trip

Last week I took a four day backpacking friends with some friends. My husband strongly encouraged me to go, which surprised me, since he’s so busy right now. I wasn’t sure about leaving my family, but I went.

Pack and boots
Pack and boots

***More photos to come. Waiting on my friends since I didn’t bring a camera.***

Our group started out with five women, three over fifty years in age. None of them but me had ever backpacked before. We drove to a trail head and started out; after half a mile Bonnie’s 60 pound pack wasn’t working so well. Plus our trail wasn’t taking us where we wanted to go, and the friend with the detailed topo maps had decided not to come the night before. So I hiked back to the truck and drove around to where the ladies were resting. We drove back the dirt road to the ranger station, where we picked up a map. Then we re-read our trail head description and found the right starting point. Is it amazing that we can spend six months planning to go somewhere but forget to figure out exactly where until we’re there?

We started hiking again. This time we did much better. We took a slow pace and took breaks when the trail went up hill to allow everyone to catch their breath. It was already afternoon, so we had to hike steadily until evening to make it to our planned camping spot. It rained on us during the afternoon for about half an hour. That would have been no problem, except I had convinced everyone to leave their rain gear behind to save weight because the forecast said only 10% chance of rain. Really, we only got damp and none of our gear got wet, so we managed fine. We made it to our stopping point and set up camp. By the time everyone had set up their tents, cooked dinner, and filtered water, they were ready for bed. Frogs and an owl serenaded us during the night.

Tuesday morning we woke with the sun. Those of us that had slept, that is. When backpacking there is no option but to sleep on the ground. Even with a pad, this isn’t comfortable and takes a few nights to get used to. The dew covered our tents, so we waited for them to dry before packing up.

Bonnie asked to go home. Logistically it didn’t work to walk her back to the truck without all of us quitting so she said she’d keep going. We repacked her pack, taking all of the heavy items out and giving them to her granddaughter to carry. We gave her moleskin for her blisters and she borrowed my sandals. Then we started out. First thing we had to climb out of the canyon, but as we continued on we kept a steady pace. While looking at the map, I noticed our trail joined the next trail within 0.1 mile of a forest road. “Bonnie,” I said, “if we hike to the road and get cell reception enough to call your husband, you can get a ride home.” She liked that idea. So we hiked the couple of miles to the road, texted for a ride, and got a reply that he could come. Then we ate lunch together, brought their gear to the road, and left Bonnie and her granddaughter to wait. It was sad to have them stop, but I would rather let them leave than push them beyond their physical capacity. So far, blisters were the only injury.

Only halfway to our destination, we continued hiking. The afternoon was warm, and sweat soaked our shirts. The roasted pine needles released fragrance with each step. The trail was easy to follow, crossing four small canyons. With encouragement, we reached our next camp, a spring. We had more daylight left than the previous day to set up camp, eat, and filter water. We all took sponge baths using water from the creek below the spring. I lit a small camp fire and stayed up until the stars came out, but my two companions went to bed. I enjoyed the solitude of being alone in the wild. I heard elk calling across the canyon. I thought about how I saw God’s hand everywhere around me.

Our third day we had half as many miles to go. We hiked along a creek through a sunny canyon, with tall grasses and wildflowers. To our surprise we arrived at a cabin by noon. It wasn’t on the map, but the spring next to it was our planned stopping point. My friends took naps in the scenic meadow. I hiked up a side canyon and spend a few hours reading and thinking. We had finally adjusted to the slow pace and peaceful surroundings. Backpacking is a timeless occupation. It doesn’t matter whether it’s 10 or 2. There are no deadlines, only the rough plan to hike until you arrive at a certain point, which is negotiable. You hike, eat, rest, as your body needs and spend the rest of your energy soaking up the beauty of nature.

We enjoyed a refreshing night of sleep. Then after leisurely eating and packing up our gear, we hit the trail one last time. Before we knew it we saw the familiar point where we had begun our journey. My companions smelled a bit more seasoned than they had begun, but their faces reflected the fulfillment of completing the trek. We hopped in my truck and stopped to eat some burgers before driving the rest of the way home. I dropped off both friends, and just as I tried to pull into my neighborhood, the power steering pump on the truck quit and I had to muscle the wheel to make it the last half mile. Whew!

Life is just like this trip. You can decide what to pack and where you’d like to go, but you have no control over what happens to you along the way. You hope what you brought will be enough for the challenges you’ll face. Your friends can be your greatest assets. When it’s over you look back at all of the memorable challenges and say, “Wow! That was amazing! Let’s go again!”

Phoenix Temple Photo

Hi! Just wanted to share a few photos I snapped the other day of my favorite temple.

Phoenix Temple with storm clouds, north side.

It had been threatening rain, but here in Phoenix I don’t believe a forecast for rain unless it is at least 50%. The clouds looked beautiful and the rain actually materialized. According to a radio announcer it was the first time Phoenix has had rain during the month of June in six years!

Phoenix Temple and fountain
Detail from front of Phoenix Temple “Holiness to the Lord, the House of the Lord.”

Mormon culture vs gospel culture

A unique culture exists among members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Each person lives their life based on their core beliefs. Each member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (or “Mormon”) applies what they believe to choices they make, and over time a common culture has emerged. Anyone who has visited Utah will notice differences between the culture there an other places in the country. Some may be good, others not so good. For example, Utahns take good care of their yards, but Utahns aren’t very courteous drivers.

Welcome to Utah sign. From the Monroe family blog.

I’d like to talk about the difference between Mormon culture and Gospel culture. Mormon culture is the behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular social, ethnic, or age group, in this case a group of Mormons. Gospel culture is the behaviors and beliefs taught in the gospel of Jesus Christ, as contained in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They are different because Mormon culture may emerge from practices not founded in the gospel, for example eating green Jell-O with carrots. A person trying to live the gospel will inevitably do it imperfectly. So as Mormons live and practice their beliefs a Mormon culture emerges. Occasionally people get Mormon culture and the gospel mixed up. They think that the gospel teaches that you have to drive a big van, have lots of kids, and volunteer a lot. Or perhaps they had an experience where a Mormon said or did something less than Christlike and think the gospel condones such behavior. Neither is true. The gospel of Jesus Christ is perfect because it is based on eternal truth. Mormon culture is imperfect because it is the expression of imperfect people.

“There is a unique gospel culture, a set of values and expectations and practices common to all members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This gospel culture, or way of life, comes from the plan of salvation, the commandments of God, and the teachings of living prophets. It is given expression in the way we raise our families and live our individual lives.” L. Tom Perry, October 2012 General Conference

Latter-day Saints around the world may not all live the same flavor of Mormon culture, but all of them are trying to live the gospel culture. Gospel culture includes choices like valuing marriage and family, keeping the Sabbath day holy, and studying the scriptures. I enjoy meeting other members in the church and finding out how they live the gospel, what they are working on right now, and hearing their testimonies about the happiness they have found. Here are a few examples:

I have also noticed that church leaders have tried to adapt teaching the gospel to all cultures. They are willing to discard cultural practices that are simply Mormon culture, while not changing the culture of the gospel. “While we treasure appropriate cultural diversities, our goal is to be united in the culture, customs, and traditions of the gospel of Jesus Christ in every respect.” (Elder Cook). Last time I flew on an airline, I sat next to a man who is married to an inactive returned missionary. He was raised a good Christian and they are raising a happy family based on Christian values. He knew a lot about Mormons and we had an interesting discussion about Mormon culture. I do not know why his wife decided to leave the church, but I imagine it’s probable someone could have offended her.

In some way and at some time, someone in this Church will do or say something that could be considered offensive. Such an event will surely happen to each and every one of us—and it certainly will occur more than once. Though people may not intend to injure or offend us, they nonetheless can be inconsiderate and tactless. Elder Bednar

I think if we realize the difference between the cultural practices of people who are Mormons and teachings of the gospel, it is easier to see that a Mormon may do something contrary to their beliefs even though the gospel itself is true. Also realize that living the gospel will look as unique as each person trying to do so.

A Mormon girl
A Mormon from India.
A Mormon from Guatemala.
A Mormon from Canada.
A Mormon grandpa.

As a mom, I have to be careful to not get a perfection complex. I call it Martha Stewart complex when someone tries to have a perfect home, fabulous meals, manicured appearance, well-dressed children, etc. Those things are nice, but in the end they are not important. What is important? The gospel. Because it is the key to happiness. I hope we can see past the imperfections of Mormon culture to unlock our potential through the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Create a Life Handbook

I’ve been inspired to create a Life Handbook. A life handbook is a personal manual that encompasses your goals and dreams, personal mission, and ideas that you have on your journey of becoming. Often, we get caught up in the daily grind and lose sight of the practical means necessary to realize our dreams. By working on a physical expression of my life purpose, I want to increase my ability to accomplish my own potential.


Life is always harder than we envision. As a youth, I thought my life would be a straightforward execution of my goals, with occasional episodes planned by God. That was naive. In reality, I have discarded some of my lesser goals in pursuit of the ones that I found more worthy. Even some of the skills I spent years acquiring have been simply nice nick-knacks on my accomplishment shelf. My life has been a series of days upon days with the detours from God being the better ones. I see how learning one admirable attribute may take a lifetime. I see how there is never enough time to work on the mediocre aspirations, because there is so much out there and so little time. I would like to organize my spiritual life better, to make spiritual growth a priority that won’t get pushed aside by the daily chores. I’m going to create a life handbook about and for myself.

Here’s how to create a Life Handbook. (from Celestine Chua at Personal Excellence.)

Spend a few minutes a day pondering the following list. Begin writing down your thoughts about each. Estimate taking between two weeks to a few months getting a “rough draft”

  1. Your life purpose/vision/mission
  2. Your values
  3. Your strengths
  4. Your improvement areas
  5. Your life adages (I.e. your personal mottos on living a great life. These can be inspirational quotes or personal mottoes.)
  6. Your vision board (Vision boards are visual representation of your goals and dreams. Check out Celestine’s vision board tutorial.)
  7. Your long-term life goals, comprising of five-, three-, and one-year goals
  8. Your short-term life goals, usually a breakdown of your long-term goals
  9. Your action plans to achieve your goals

Continue adding to your book on a regular basis (daily). Add images, reflection, to-do lists, track goals, motivational quotes, etc. Make sure to include any spiritual experiences, promptings, and tender mercies. Back up your document regularly. (I don’t really envision this document being a hard copy at first). Use your document to see a snapshot of your inner self over time. Since I’ve never done this, I’ll have to write more about how it goes. Wish me luck! (I could have started tonight, but wrote this post instead.)

Found on

Update: I told a few of my most-admired friends about my goal. I’ve spent a couple of days thinking about what format I plan to use (excel file) and today I’m starting to create my life handbook. I always have goals I am working on, but I have never thought about writing a comprehensive list down, prioritizing them, and tracking my progress. I’m excited!