Thursday, November 1, 2012

Talk on Charity

Talk given in church 10/18/12:

Good morning brothers and sisters,
I am so grateful for this opportunity to share my thoughts and feelings with you today.  I love that in our church we have these opportunities to grow and develop spiritually, that we don't have just one paid preacher or pastor, but that all are given opportunities to serve and contribute that we all might be strengthened and share and learn.
D&C: Let one speak at a time and all listen unto his sayings, that when all have spoken that all may be edified of all, and that every man may have an equal privilege.”  Just another testimony that the Lord is the head of this church, and is no respecter of persons, but loves all his children and wants us all to develop and grow.  I just love that about the gospel, and I'm grateful for this opportunity to speak today.
 I pray that the spirit of the Lord, who is the true teacher, will be here as I share these thoughts with you my brothers and sisters. 
The talk I was assigned is from the most recent conference by Elder Hales, entitled, "Being a more Chrsitian Christian."
I'd like to begin with a question:  "How can you tell if someone is truly converted to Jesus Christ?"
Marvin J. Ashton asked this same question at a fireside, and for forty-five minutes people gave thoughtful answers which he wrote on the board.  He then erased them all, and proceeded to teach this important principle... that the best indicator that we are progressing spiritually and coming unto Christ is the WAY WE TREAT OTHER PEOPLE.  Love that!  Really simple, but profound.
The defining, crowning characteristic of a true Christian is CHARITY.
What is charity?  In the scriptures we learn that Charity is the Pure love of Christ, it's the greatest gift of God, and it endureth forever!  And I love the description Moroni gives: " And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”
“Perhaps the greatest charity comes when we are kind to each other, when we don’t judge or categorize someone else, when we simply give each other the benefit of the doubt or remain quiet. Charity is accepting someone’s differences, weaknesses, and shortcomings; having patience with someone who has let us down; or resisting the impulse to become offended when someone doesn’t handle something the way we might have hoped. Charity is refusing to take advantage of another’s weakness and being willing to forgive someone who has hurt us. Charity is expecting the best of each other”
Marvin J. Ashton

Clearly, this principle matters A LOT to Heavenly Father. 2nd Nephi 26:30: “Wherefore, the Lord God hath given a commandment that all men should have charity, which charity is love.  And except they should have charity they are nothing."  And I LOVE this scripture in 1 Corinithians 13:2. “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.  And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profiteth me nothing.
 REALLY?  Could that really be true?  So if I have faith to move mountains, give my body to be burned, I am NOTHING without Charity?  That's EXACTLY what it says. Just shows how important this principle is to Heavenly Father.  Without charity, we CANNOT be saved in the kingdom of God.

But the problem is- unfortunately, Charity does not come naturally to any of us!!!  Or as Sheri Dew says, "Our charity sometimes faileth."  Charity never faileth... but OUR charity does!  This is a fallen world and we have a carnal nature.  "For the natural man is an enemy to God."  But even so, we are called upon to even love our enemies.  It's easy to love someone who is loveable, is it not?!  The REAL test is to love those who offend or annoy or test our patience in some way.  That is when our true character is revealed. 
Personal experience I'd like to share:  I’d love to say that our home is perfectly peaceful all the time, but um, that’s not the truth.  It’s something we struggle with sometimes- we’re working on it.  We have a joke when we sing “there is beauty all around when there’s LOVE at HOME, we switch the words to “when there’s no one home” haha!  Our kids are all strong willed.  They'll be leaders for sure.  If I had only known what contention did to a mother, I would have been a much better child.   
We know that “contention cometh from the devil, who stirreth up the hearts of the children of men with anger one toward another.”  All I want is Peace and Harmony in the home!!  Every Christmas, that is what I ask for… peace and harmony.  So this issue matters so much to me, that I decided to take it to the Lord.  I learned once that when we go to the temple, we should go with a question or concern.  The temple is truly a house of revelation.  So my question was, HOW can we have peace in our home and in our family?  In the temple, I said a prayer and felt prompted to open the scriptures, and turned to 4th Nephi, looked down at the page, and this is what I read: “And it came to pass in the thirty and sixth year, the people were all converted unto the Lord, upon all the face of the land, both Nephites and Lamanites, and there were no contentions and disputations among them, and every man did deal justly one with another.” 
I said to myself- WHOA.  This is my answer!!  Read on!!  I wanted to know how these people managed to have NO contentions and disputations?  So I kept reading, and again, the answer was revealed: “And it came to pass that there was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people.  16 And there were no envyings, nor strifes, nor tumults, nor whoredoms, nor lyings, nor murders, nor any manner of lasciviousness; and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God.”
So that was my answer!  That experience taught me- that first of all, the Lord hears and answers our prayers. And that we need to instill the LOVE of God in their hearts., through testimony, through teaching gospel principles so the spirit can speak to them and help change their natures.  And mostly, through example- modeling this love.
SO again, we must have Charity and without it we are NOTHING.  And the problem is- the natural man is an enemy to God.  I'm really big on goal setting- Set a goal, make a commitment, follow through and make it happen! Not going to get angry in traffic, not going to be impatient with my children, not going to be selfish, covetous, or discouraged.  Has anyone else tried to go it alone- on your own strength and willpower?  How'd that work for you?  Didn’t work well for me either!!  It's demoralizing isn't it?! The truth is, when it comes to charity, our willpower simply is not enough!

So what can we do??  The Answer is found in the scriptures AGAIN. :)  Mormon exhorts us to " pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ."  Looks like our goal setting, our simple willpower will not be enough to change our natures.  We must rely upon the strength of the Lord for this GIFT.  Again, GIFT!  Not something we can aquire on our own!!  Given to us by our request.  Mormon also admonishes us to "cleave unto charity."  In this context "cleave" means to bind one's self to, or be united with, unwaveringly.  I testify that as we do so, our natures truly can be changed!  He WILL make "weak things become strong unto us" as we put our trust in Him.

I've always loved Stephen R. Covey's analogy of the airplane.  Did you know that an Airplane is off course 90% of the time?  The pilots have a flight plan... they know exactly where they are going, but during the course of the flight, a variety of factors like... wind, rain, turbulance, air traffic, etc. cause them to slightly deviate from the plan.  But they almost always reach their final destination.  How can this be?  During the flight the pilots receive constant feedback.  Based on that feedback, they make adjustments and corrections so that time and time again, they keep returning to the flight plan.  The hope lies in the vision- the plan and ability to get back on track.  I love that analogy and think it applies here- that when we make mistakes... when our charity faileth, we too can continually repent, make corrections and our vision- as we look to the Savior, we WILL arrive at our final desitation.  There is truly HOPE for us through the atonement of Jesus Christ.

Another characteristic of a true Christian is the willingness to "feed his sheep" and to bring others unto Him.  And I think the best way we can do that is by developing this kind of LOVE.  The Lord said, "As I have loved you, love one another.  By this shall men know, ye are my disciples."  As we seek to put off the natural man- others will be drawn to us.  They will see the joy the gospel brings into our lives, and they will want to experience that joy themselves.  Others will notice this change of heart, and those who are searching for Him will see his image engraven upon our countenances as we take upon ourselves His holy name and stand as a witness of Him.
I'd like to end by revisiting my original question... "Have we have truly been converted to Jesus Christ?"  Have we experienced this mighty change of heart?  Does the way we treat others reflect that?  I invite us all to pray to the Father individually and as families for this spiritual gift, that we might more fully converted unto Christ.  That we might discover the kind of joy and unity those true Christians felt in 4th Nephi.  That we might glorify Him through the way we treat His children.
I’m so grateful for our Savior Jesus Christ- who gave us the ultimate example of Charity- when He gave his life for us.  “Truly greater love hath no man than this, than he layeth down his life for his friends”.  I testify of Him and of His love in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Back to School

Bittersweet day.  Mostly bitter.  I'll miss these sweet faces during the day, but I'm glad the school year is starting again.  I LOVE the routine and structure the school day brings.  The kids are excited to meet new friends here, but there has been a LOT of anxiety lately from Celeste- expressing worry that maybe people won't like her repeatedly throughout the day.  She misses her old friends.  I really feel for her.  It's tough to move.  But I know she'll be fine.  I told her when she feels that way, to say a prayer in her mind to Heavenly Father, and that He is always there to comfort her. 

I also reminded her that when she starts feeling self-conscious, it's time to forget herself, to look around and smile and think about how to help and serve others.  Consider their needs and their feelings, and then go to work and do what you can to help them and by so doing, help the Lord.  That kind of life brings true peace and joy.  Wish I had learned that sooner in life!!  It wasn't until college that I really understood that truth.  My hope for her, and all my children is that they learn and apply that principle, because only by losing themselves in service to others and to God will they be truly happy.

Love these children.  They drive me absolutely crazy sometimes.  But I love them just the same.

Sweet Jakey put on his backpack too, and wore it around the house most of the day.  He was so bummed to be home alone without them.  But he felt better when I reassured him that I needed him around the house- as he is the big man of the house during the day.

These pics make me sad.  I know these days will be over all too soon.

Must remember to cherish these moments before they're gone.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pumpkin Patch!

I've been having this problem lately.  I keep getting these strong impressions to BLOG again.  But I feel so overwhelmed by the thought since I'm like a year behind, that I always seem to talk my way out of it (it's too late, I have too many other things to do, where do I start? no one reads it anyway, etc).  Can anyone relate?  This is not just a problem when it comes to blogging, but just life in general.  I'll set a goal for myself, and sometimes won't achieve it- and then I get discouraged and talk myself out of even trying. It's demoralizing, isn't it?!  But I realized the best thing to do is just START dang it!!  Just jump in where I'm at.  I was feeling like I'd probably always be behind since I have to back track so much.  But I'm going to just jump in and have a fresh start TODAY and when I find time, I'll start catching up on missed posts from the last year.  It feels so good to do the thing I had been avoiding.  We gotta start somewhere!  So here goes!!

We've decided to make every Saturday morning an excuse to go on a family outing.  It's healthy to get out of the house, and have some free time together.  But it seems it doesn't happen these days unless we schedule it!!  I think it's all about scheduling the TIME slot in the week- making that non-negotiable, but leaving the activity open for suggestions.  That way there's some flexibility, but there is also consistency.  So this Sat, we went to Craven Farm in Snohomish, and had a blast!!  We haven't had too many outings with all 6 kids yet.  It is still a tough adjustment period right now.  I've got to seriously up my game.  Is it ever WORK keeping up with all these balls of energy!  But we'll get used to it.  Here are a few pics of our adventures:

My handsome men on the hay ride (cost $17 for all of us for about 10 minutes, haha!  But totally worth it.)

They wouldn't allow strollers, so we got creative. :)

I've been meaning to get a pic of these two together!  They both lost their two front teeth around the same time.  At this rate, the tooth fairy is going to go broke!

Sometimes when I look at pictures, I still can't believe ALL these kids came out of this body??  What the??

Lovin on my happy boy!!

Pumpkin sling-shot!  Too fun!

My little pumpkin sitting back and enjoying the ride:

Pumpkin before:

Pumpkin after:  
The kids worked really well together tonight.  Daddy assigned everyone a job (tail, ears, etc, and we worked as a team to create this guy.  I know we're so weird.  But it was a fun!!  Hope you're all enjoying this time of year.  It's my favorite!

Happy Fall, Y'all!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Here we go again!

Ok, these last few months have been an absolute whirlwind for our family!!!  Seriously, sometimes I think we should have our own reality show.  Let me just say, moving 5 TRUCKS (3.5 worth of business inventory, 1.5 personal) across the country 9 months pregnant with young kids is beyond crazy (and EXPENSIVE)!!  I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy!  (Don't actually have any enemies, but you know what I mean.)  I've pretty much made up my mind, this home will be my final resting place... because I will NEVER do that again.  But we made it!  And we could not be happier here in our new home.  Now that we're finally moved in, and I've decorated this place, I'll post some pics soon.  SO grateful everything is coming together.  We're settling in here now, and life is beginning to regain some sense of normalcy.  We've resumed our family routines (snuggle scriptures, hudson hugs, etc), baby Nate is healthy and happy, the brutal afterbirth pains are gone, Jon starts work soon, we're going to church in our new ward this weekend, and I'm finally blogging again.  Life is good!!!  Thank you God.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Christmas Joys

Here are a few activities we enjoyed this Christmas. 
We have this fun tradition of cutting down our own Christmas tree.  My manly man and his little side-kick had the most fun with this...

But as fun as this is, and as delightful as a real Christmas tree smells in the home, we're now reconsidering.  This very well might be the last year of this tradition.  Here it is FEBRUARY 25th, and we're STILL finding these darn needles around the house!!  I'm still finding them in the vacuum, in the heater vents, and some have even gotten stuck in the carpet.  Let me tell ya, stepping on those things feels like real needles!
But if we ever do this again, we've definitely found the best tree farm around!!  This local tree farm offers free hot chocolate and cookies for the kids, visits from Santa, face-painting, and free homemade ornaments for the kids.  A sweet family runs this place, and I want to help support them.  Message me if you're local and want more deets for next year!

And our thoughtful aunt Pam has this tradition of sending us homemade ornaments every year!  We have them going back to 2004.  Each one is such a treasure to our family!
Christmas Morning!  Kids got beyond spoiled this year.  We got a Wii for the family (I had sworn off video games for the kids- but we finally comprimised that active/fitness games, and music games that involve the entire family would be ok).  They also each got 3 presents from Santa.  Afterall- if Jesus only got 3, who are we to get more?!
But the best present of all...
As if it's not already a circus around here... meet Barnum and Bailey!!  Our new pet guinea pigs.  We did tons of research before we decided on a great pet for kids, and I'm so glad we went with guniea pigs!  They are the most gentle animals, they make amusing noises, low maintenance, they're soft and cuddly- and they aren't too stinky. 

It was too funny, when we went to pick them up, we had to bring all the kids with us, so Jon and I were trying to find a way to pull it off without them knowing.  Luckily it was dark, and we had just gotten back from seeing the Christmas lights in the city.  I went and picked them up in a box, and we acted like we had to pick something up from a friend.  But once we got them in, they started sqeaking and squealing like crazy.  And we had to drive 30 minutes to get home!  My hubby is hilarious- so fun to watch him try to keep the kids from finding out... each time they would squeak, he would pretend to sneeze, or sing, and crank up the Christmas music even louder.  And they had no clue.  Too fun!!
What a blessed Christmas.  Hope yours was just as special!!  Nothing like experiencing this beautiful season than through the eyes of a child.  Childlike awe and wonder is so inspiring!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Halloween Pics (Yes, I'm that behind!)

Ok, so I know it's past V-Day, but I'm still trying to play catch up!  Had to get a few pics on here from halloween, so the kids will remember the fun we had.

We're all about themes for halloween.  Jon and I like to participate- it makes our family feel unified- and it's just so dang fun!  Love this tradition!  But someday (SOON I think) the kids will probably start being embarrassed by their dorky parents, and won't be too thrilled with this tradition.  They'll probably want to do their own thing soon, and that's ok.  But they're loving it now!  So I'm going to enjoy this as long as possible before that day comes. 

We decided to go as Packers fans this year.  Kind of lame, I know, haha.  It was all I could put together though. I was newly pregnant at the time, sick and exhausted.  So I almost bagged it completely this year.  But I'm glad we made it happen.  And it was pretty cheap, since there were tons of Brett Farve jerseys at Goodwill. ;)  So here we are as Packers Fans... and one cute, cuddly, football.

Love this face, haha!  He's like "Seriously Mom?  Is this hat all you could come up with??"

Intense football fan faces.  Grr!!

Sunday, February 12, 2012


"Family traditions counter alienation and confusion. They help us define who we are; they provide something steady, reliable and safe in a confusing world."  -SUSAN LIEBERMAN

One of our favorite traditions is camping together.  We love going during General Conference (a church conference that happens twice a year), so we can cuddle up in the camper, learn, and be together without the usual distractions.  And somehow despite the cramped quarters, the kids get along better  when camping than they do at home.  (Maybe that's why I'm such a fan!) 

So here are a couple Hudson camping traditions...

The kids in their camo snuggies, haha!

S'mores of course!  But here's another camping treat we love.  Feel free to steal and enjoy!

And a newer camping tradition... just for fun!!  It's also a great science project.

This was all Daddy's idea of course.  Check out the height on this one!

So if you want to try this with your kids, all you'll need is a couple liters of pop (diet is best so you don't get sticky!), a couple packs of mint mentos, and I highly recommend buying a geyser tube for maximum effect.  Here's a cheap one on amazon

And ok, this isn't a tradition, but I just had to share this pic I took of Jarom mid-yawn... it CRACKS me up!!

There's so much personality in that little bod!  He's such a jolly kid!

Charity was so cute on the way home, she said, "Mommy, could we just go camping every day?"  :) 

Love my HAPPY campers!!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Stay at Home Mom?

I admit, sometimes staying at home feels a bit less than glamorous.  Especially those days when I don't make it to the shower after a workout, I have spit up stains on my shirt, no make-up, my hair in a bun, and on my knees scrubbling the spilled oatmeal on the floor.  Or when caring for sick kids, leaves me exhausted and somehow a little puke ends up in my hair!  It's true- motherhood is no easy task, and can leave us moms feeling a little frumpy at times!  But the TRUTH is,
Motherhood is near to divinity. "It is the highest, holiest service to be assumed by mankind. It places her who honors its holy calling and service next to the angels." First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
So I've never liked the term "stay at home mom". That just sounds so... blah, don't you think?! No, we're NOT stay at home moms.

I'm all for anything that helps us feel like the queens we are.  So I have this thing for aprons. They're pretty and feminine, and I love the way they make me feel.  They make me feel a little less stay at home mom-ish, and a little more domestic goddess-like. :)  I have tons of them, mostly all from the same company. I love these and wanted to share them with you if you ever feel this way too...

You can find more varieties here:

Aren't they so pretty?! They're a little expensive (between $25-$38... but I always wait for a sale. A couple times a year they're sold on this site for half off. Or if you don't want to wait, you can often find them on Amazon for about $10 cheaper, with free shipping.

Here are my little domestic goddesses in training. (If that's what they choose to do of course.) ;)

And here's one of my favorite recipes EVER I'd love to share with you. It's called Taco Lasagna. Don't remember where I got this recipe, but our family has enjoyed it for years!! It's easy, nutritious, and kid-friendly.

Taco Lasagna:


1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion
2/3 cup water
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) Mexican diced tomatoes, undrained
6 flour tortillas (8 inches)
1 can (16 ounces) refried beans
3 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend (I always go a little generous on cheese) mmm :)

In a large skillet, cook the beef, green pepper and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add water and taco seasoning; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 2 minutes. Stir in black beans and tomatoes. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Place two tortillas in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Spread with half of the refried beans and beef mixture; sprinkle with 1 cup cheese. Repeat layers. Top with remaining tortillas and cheese.
Cover and bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted.

 Yep, I think it's true.  The way to a man's heart is definitely through his stomach!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...