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The following story was related this past Sunday in church by a good friend of ours, Jess Arbon. After church I asked him if I could share this. He agreed.

“When our son Austin started nursery he was pretty reluctant to have anything to do with it. If any of you know him, he is an extremely strong headed child. When he makes his mind up he doesn’t budge and he had made his mind up early on that he didn’t want to be associated with nursery.

Now Austin wasn’t one of those kids that went in and cried for 10 minutes and then stopped. For 2 full hours, on and off, he cried… and chanted “I want my mom!”. He really didn’t want anything to do with nursery no matter what we did.

Of course, this was very frustrating for him, as it was for us.

About 8 months into this things still hadn’t changed and it just so happened that new nursery leaders were called. We didn’t know them real well, and they didn’t know us. So we took Austin to class like normal, getting ready to explain this to the new nursery leaders. We took him in the door and he started to get even more upset.

And this good brother came over and picked him up. He said it would be okay, and I left and paced the hallway for a few minutes, hearing him start with his crying and chanting.

At the time I had a calling that required me to teach. I went and taught and came back at the end of the three hour block. Usually what I would hear when I was coming up to the room was his voice crying, or chatting his standard “I want my mom!”.

But this time something was different. I sat there for a few minutes and didn’t hear anything.

When I opened the door, I’ll never forget this very touching scene. This brother in this very small nursery room was sitting in the back corner on the floor holding my son who had fallen asleep.

And that was a turning point. His sincere arms were so loving holding him that Austin fell asleep.

And I know it was a turning point because it touched my son… it touched his heart, it touched his soul.

From that moment on he was fine. When he went into that room he knew there was someone there that loved him and cared about him.”

When Jess related this message I couldn’t help but feel the Spirit of this sweet father who loved his son, and this good brother who reached out to his son in his hour of need and provided the comfort and love that he so desperately needed.

There are so many lessons to take out of this lesson and perhaps you have already taken your own lesson out of it. The one I would like to point out is how we are all like Austin. We all come here to earth and some days all we want to do is cry. All we want to do is go back to our Heavenly Father and Mother where things are safe. And our Heavenly Father knows how hard it is for us, but knows it is necessary if we are to learn about the Gospel.

So he provided us with a Brother that will hold us and comfort us here on the earth when we struggle. He touches our hearts and souls… and if we let him, even takes away the fear and helps us to return safely back to our Father. How grateful I am for a Father in Heaven that has called the greatest and most beloved nursery leader there ever was for me.

Scriptures:

Subway Experiment

I saw this following story on Facebook this past week and it really impacted me:

“THE SITUATION – In Washington , DC , at a Metro Station, on a cold January morning in 2007, this man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, approximately 2,000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After about 3 minutes, a middle-aged man noticed that there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds, and then he hurried on to meet his schedule.

About 4 minutes later: The violinist received his first dollar. A woman threw money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk. At 6 minutes: A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

At 10 minutes: A 3-year old boy stopped, but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head the whole time. This action was repeated by several other children, but every parent – without exception – forced their children to move on quickly.

At 45 minutes: The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.

After 1 hour:
He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed and no one applauded. There was no recognition at all.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before, Joshua Bell sold-out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100 each to sit and listen to him play the same music.

This is a true story. Joshua Bell, playing incognito in the D.C. Metro Station, was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people’s priorities. This experiment raised several questions: *In a common-place environment, at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty? *If so, do we stop to appreciate it? *Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made . . . How many other things are we missing as we rush through life?”

This so true!  For me it is even more true with all the technology that is constantly bombarding me.  I have access to the internet every second of every day, and there are thousands of things begging for my attention there.  Too often we find ourselves in the crowd of folks that don’t stop to enjoy the beauty all around us.

You could take this though and go a hundred different ways with it, but the one I am going to point out here is the parallel to the Spirit in our lives.  Too often there is so much going on around us that we don’t stop to hear the Spirit talking to us.  The Spirit is just like Joshua Bell… it is beautiful and amazing.  It will inspire and lift us when we are down, but we MUST stop and listen.  We must not be so busy that we can not see and feel the power and promptings that the Lord will give us in our lives.

Take some time today and make sure you stop and listen to the beautiful music the Lord is making in your life.

References:

Love One Another

(How to Download Video – Direct Video URL = http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUuexH-3dBo)

As I have loved you, love one another.
This new commandment, love one another.
By this shall men know, ye are my disciples.
If ye have love one to another.

Oh how I love this video (no pun intended :)).  Too often we get caught up in the craziness of our lives.  We have so much to do with our families, with our work, personally, but also so much to do in the church.  This video really brings it all back into perspective for me.  We are here to learn and grow (think Abr 3:25-26), and the Lord in his infinite wisdom often helps us to grow by serving and lifting others.  Unfortunately too often we forget the purpose behind our acts of service.  This video brings it back into focus for me.  The home teaching, the service projects, playing with the kids, flowers for my sweet wife, listening to a friend, missionary service, spending time with the elderly… all of these are wonderful acts of charity.

Most importantly, as it points out in the end, we are acting in the footsteps of the greatest one of all when we serve others.  Christ set an example for us by serving others as he walked the earth, and ultimately gave the eternal sacrifice of the atonement to save us all.

While I will never be called on to give such a sacrifice, I can through my daily actions live as he did.  I know that this kind of service brings me, and those around me, great joy.  What a wonderful plan the Father has set up that encourages that service.

Activities:

  • Think about a time someone served you.  How did you feel?
  • Think about a time that you were able to serve someone else?  How did you feel?
  • Write down (or resolve) to serve someone today, and let yourself be served by someone (the second one is the harder one… we are all so proud sometimes… )

Scriptures:

I interrupt this regularly scheduled spiritual thought to point you to a really great resource I just came across yesterday that will certainly inspire your personal spiritual thought creation.

open_lds

OpenLDS.com

Their whole goal is to aggregate all the awesome LDS resources that are available out there on the internet (which is a LOT!)  You can take a look at the banner above to see how they split it all up so you can easily find what you are looking for!  My favorite part is certainly the Church Leaders section.   You can go there and find all sorts of great information about each church leader and links off to the things they have written and said in all of the different media formats that are available.  Check it out! :)

Slow Dance – Enjoy Life!

“Slow Dance”

By David L. Weatherford (Accessible online here: http://www.davidlweatherford.com/slowdance.html)

Have you ever watched kids on a merry-go-round,
or listened to rain slapping the ground?

Ever followed a butterfly’s erratic flight,
or gazed at the sun fading into the night?

You better slow down, don’t dance so fast,
time is short, the music won’t last.

Do you run through each day on the fly,
when you ask “How are you?”, do you hear the reply?

When the day is done, do you lie in your bed,
with the next hundred chores running through your head?

You better slow down, don’t dance so fast,
time is short, the music won’t last.

Ever told your child, we’ll do it tomorrow,
and in your haste, not see his sorrow?

Ever lost touch, let a friendship die,
’cause you never had time to call and say hi?

You better slow down, don’t dance so fast,
time is short, the music won’t last.

When you run so fast to get somewhere,
you miss half the fun of getting there.

When you worry and hurry through your day,
it’s like an unopened gift thrown away.

Life isn’t a race, so take it slower,
hear the music before your song is over.

I just spent the morning teaching a productivity class to a group of Educators and was doing some reading this afternoon and came across this poem.  I just love, love, love this.  This captures so much of the way that I am feeling right now.  There is SO much going on in this crazy world we all live in.  Technology can enable great things, but it also wastes hours and hours of our time as we work on little things that in the long run, really don’t matter.  What matters most to me is my family, and my relationships with my wife and kids.  What matters most to me is my relationship with the Lord.  What matters most to me is the sacred obligation I have to fulfill the callings the Lord has entrusted me with and live up to my potential as one of his chosen Priesthood holders.

But too often my actions don’t reflect what matters most to me.  Life is a wonderful and amazing gift, not to be run though, but enjoyed.  As my Dad once counseled me, I will slow down today and and “suck the life out of it” enjoying every moment.  Enjoying those great and eternal relationships, for those are the one’s that matter most at the end of the day.

Related:

Priesthood Power Poem

A hurricane gains impact, comes on with mighty force,
Wreaking mass destruction, along its chosen course.
The waters of a mighty flood will make men run in fear,
As does the black tornado, when its funneled wrath appears.

Earthquakes cause much damage, arising from its berth,
And man claims nuclear weapons can eradicate the earth.
But of all the mighty powers, there’s one that stands alone
For its power stems from righteousness and claims a mighty throne.

The priesthood of God long missing, from churches of our time
Is now restored and shall prevail, in every tongue and clime.
The priesthood sets our church apart from every other church
And through its restoration, has ended many a search.

All the keys to God’s kingdom, through the priesthood now restored
And it is through this priesthood power, men work and serve the Lord.
The priesthood is a privilege, not just a right of men
Which must be earned and then upheld, through covenants entered in.

It’s through the laying-on-of-hands that the priesthood is conferred
By those who have authority, to preach and teach His word.
Not by man, but through God it came, and Peter, James and John,
Returned to earth, to confer the keys, so Christ’s gospel might roll on.

Mighty or simple the miracles, the priesthood power brings,
It can raise the dead or bless a child; still they’re both inspiring,
And both bring the powers of heaven, down on the heads of men,
As it baptizes, administers, holy ordinances enters in.

But because men hold the priesthood, are women inferior beings?
Subject to every wish of man, as though he were her king?
No, the role of woman is different; she’s co-creator with God,
Bears a child then nurtures, teaches children the path to trod.

- Carolyn Perry Fife

When I first read this poem I loved the first couple of stanza’s that talk about all the amazing forces of nature out there that can cause so much pain and suffering, but then holds that in juxtaposition to  the awesome power of the priesthood.  A power that is predicated on the righteousness of the person that holds it.

I really love the lines “The priesthood is a privilege, not just a right of men / Which must be earned and then upheld, through covenants entered in.”  Growing up in the church and following the traditional path of priesthood ordination too often holding the priesthood was merely a cultural step to manhood, and not the privilege that it should have been.

Today I strive to live up to my covenants and really think about what it means to be a priesthood leader in my home (not a ruler as the final stanza implies).  Although I have certainly not arrived at a full understanding, I am grateful for the priesthood in my life, especially as I can reach out and bless the lives of my wonderful wife and children.  I’m also grateful for wonderful priesthood leaders as I grew up that taught me what it means to hold the priesthood.

References:

All Hands on Deck

all-hands-deck“In these perilous times, as our youth are faced with this increased adversity, we can learn from others. In the armed forces, particularly in all the navies throughout the world, every seaman understands one phrase that is a clarion call for immediate help, no matter what he is doing or where he is on the ship. The call is ‘All hands on deck.’ Many a battle at sea has been won or lost by the response to this call.

“We–as members of the Church, leaders of youth, anxious fathers, and concerned grandfathers–all need to respond to the call for ‘all hands on deck’ as it pertains to our youth and young single adults. We must all look for opportunities to bless the youth whether or not we are currently closely associated with them. We must continue to teach and fortify fathers and mothers in their divinely declared roles with their children in the home. We must ask ourselves constantly if that extra sporting event, that extra activity or errand outside of the home is more important than families being together at home.

“Now is the time, brethren, when in every action we take, in every place we go, with every Latter-day Saint young person we meet, we need to have an increased awareness of the need for strengthening, nurturing, and being an influence for good in their lives.”

(Ronald A. Rasband, “Our Rising Generation,” Ensign, May 2006, 47)

This is such a great quote!  Too often I find myself in my day to day life forgetting what is most important.  It is just me going through the actions of each day.  Get up, study, make breakfast, go to work, come home, eat dinner, put the kids to bed, veg.  Rinse, repeat in the morning.  But I read this and it puts it all back into perspective!  The MOST important thing I am doing, day in and day out, is strengthening my releationship with my sweet wife, and strengthening the relationship wit EACH of my wonderful and amazing kids.  The other things I am involved in are not nearly as important and I must remember that.

I love the line about constantly asking ourselves if “that extra sporting event, that extra activity or errand outside the home is more important than families being together at home.”  It really puts it in perspective.  On the other hand, just being at home together is not enough.  We must be strengthening and building the kids up so that when they go out into this crazy world they will be safe from the evils and perils that beset them on every side till they can return both to our home here on earth, and our eternal home in heaven.  What a great privilege the Lord has given us.  I will answer the call.

Scriptures:

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