Sunday, November 13, 2016

Showing Compassion to others during their Trials

I spoke in church today. I cried through the whole thing basically. I just want to thank everyone for the kinds words that they offered to me. Here is the talk for those that wanted a copy.


Showing Compassion for Others during their Trials
Barbara Thompson says this, “Compassion means to feel love and mercy toward another person. It means to have sympathy and desire to relieve the suffering of others. It means to show kindness and tenderness toward another. The Savior has asked us to do the things which He has done, to bear one another’s burdens, to comfort those who need comfort, to mourn with those who mourn, to feed the hungry, visit the sick, to succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and to ‘teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom’. We are often told to look to Jesus to be our perfect example. Jesus provided us many examples of compassionate concern. The crippled man at the pool of Bethesda; the woman taken in adultery; the woman at Jacob's well; Lazarus, brother of Mary and Martha—each needed help.” Jesus offered that help.”
In the scriptures there are many stories in which Jesus shows us how to be compassionate, especially to those in the midst of their own trials. I want to talk about the stories that Sister Thompson mentions and I also want to add a few stories I found in the scriptures. Such as: Jesus teaching the multitudes, the woman with the issue of blood, blessing the Nephites, and Jesus in Gethsemane.
The crippled man at the Pool of Bethesda.
 There was a pool which was said to have healing powers and the first person to get into the water at a certain time would be healed. Jesus found a man and in talking and listening to him realized he had no one to carry him to the water. So Jesus healed him, on the Sabbath day. From this we can learn that compassion is listening, and doing what we can to help at anytime, any day, and in any way that we can.  (John 5)
The Woman taken in Adultery
A woman was brought to Jesus in the temple and the people were judging her and saying that according to the law she should be stoned. Jesus responded with “He that is without sin let him first cast a stone at her.” Soon the people left. Through this story the Lord teaches us that we cannot judge nor condemn someone and their trial. We may wonder why they don’t do things differently or why they don’t use the advice people give them. But we must remember that we don’t know the whole story and they are doing the best they can and at some time during our own trials we may not use the advice we are given either. (John 8)
The Woman at Jacobs Well
Jesus came to the well after a long travel and asked a Samaritan woman to get him some water. She was a little shocked that he would ask her since he was a Jew. He then taught her about the living water. One way to show compassion is to invite those going through trials to grow closer to our Savior. To find a firm foundation in him and realize that, we often find our faith deepened and our relationships with his son refined in adversity. During their trial they may feel alone but the Savior can and will succor and buoy them up to come through the trail. Sharing your testimony and helping them feel the spirit in the times of trials is a great way to show compassion.  (John 4)
Lazarus, Martha and Mary
One day while out with his disciples Mary and Martha came to Jesus to let him know that Lazarus had died.  He went with them and it says in the scriptures that Jesus wept, because he loved them. We all know that he went on to raise Lazarus but for this talk I want to focus on the part before that. Jesus shows compassion to Martha and Mary in that in their trials he cries with them. He was mourning with those that mourn. It is a way to let the person know that you feel for them and while I don’t think you actually have to cry to show compassion show some emotion, let them know that you love them and validate them and their feelings. (John 11)
Jesus teaches the Multitudes
When Jesus finds out the John the Baptist has been killed he goes to find a place where he can be alone to mourn but the multitude follow him,  and when he saw them he was filled with compassion and he taught them and he blessed them. Later the disciples tell him that he needs to send the multitude away because it was getting late but instead he said feed them. Sometimes the need to show compassion doesn’t come at a convenient time for us. Sometimes it comes in the middle of our own trials, but we should be compassionate at all times. And when we are we will find that our trials may not seem so big. In this story Jesus also goes the extra mile; he did all that he could for these people and that is a great way to show compassion. (Matt 14)
The Woman with the Issue of Blood
As Jesus was making his way through the streets he felt that someone had touched him. After searching he found the woman who had been healed and he said, “Daughter be of comfort, thy faith hath made the whole, go in peace.” Sometimes we need to search out those in need of comfort and compassion. Some may not openly share their trials. We can do this by praying for opportunities, and by living righteously so that we can have the Holy Ghost with us so that we can follow promptings when they come and be an answer to prayers. (Luke 8)
Jesus blessing the Nephites
When Jesus appears to the Nephites he teaches them and when it gets late he tells the people to go to their homes and they ask him if he would not tarry with them a little longer. He had compassion and stayed and healed the sick and blessed the little children one by one. In this story Jesus shows us how to be compassionate in 2 ways, the first is that he stays and gives of his time to comfort. The second is that he blesses the children and heals the sick one by one. We may feel at times that we have too much going on or that there are too many people who need us to help them during their trials but as we learn from our Savior give of your time and do it one by one even if it is a few minutes. Sometimes the people going through the trials just need to feel that they are worth someone’s time. (3 Nephi 17)
Jesus in the Garden
When Jesus entered the Garden of Gethsemane he prayed and he bled from every pour and Alma 6: 11&12 “And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations 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.  And he will take upon him  death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.  Our Savior did this so that he could know how we feel and show compassion. The way we use this to help us be compassionate is that we all go through trials; this allows us to empathize with others who are experiencing trials that are similar. We know how it feels, even if it isn’t exactly the same. If we haven’t gone through those trials ourselves we can show compassion by reminding them that The Savior knows exactly how they feel and they can turn to him for comfort. Sometimes just knowing that they are not alone is something that will help them get through. (Alma 6)
From the stories I have just shared we have learned this from our savior about how to be compassionate. Compassion is listening, not judging, inviting them to grow closer to the savior, mourning with them, love them, go the extra mile. Be compassionate at all times, pray and search for those in need of compassion, give of your time, be concerned with the individual, be empathetic, and bear testimony of our Savior and his knowledge of our pains, afflictions, and trials.
Some of you may know that Kirk and I have been struggling with infertility now for over 3 years. We didn’t have any problems with the 1st or 2nd. So this has been a new trial for me. You think that after 3 years it would get easier, but it doesn’t. This trial has been extremely hard but I have had others show compassion to me in many of the ways we have talked about. I have had numerous people listen to me talk or read my blogs about it. I have had friends who haven’t judged me when they see me cry when another person announces their pregnancy, or when I can’t seem to find the motivation to do anything at all. He continue to listen to me even when they have heard it all before. I have had people who have shared their testimonies to me of the plan of salvation, the Love of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. They have shared with me their knowledge of the atonement and how I can rely on Jesus to comfort me. I have had letters and cards dropped off when people have been thinking of me, Friends look at me as an individual and while infertility seems to be around a lot they don’t lump us all together.  They see me as an individual going through my own trial. My mother & my sister who have both struggled with infertility have been there to encourage me and show me compassion as someone who has suffered with this also. My other sister will see things that remind her of me and will buy them for me. I’ve had friends who have been an answer to my prayers, without knowing it, when they ask if my children can come over and play, this allows me some time for me, to feel sorrow alone and then have time to pull myself back together. Most people just offer me a smile when they see me. My husband even though this is a trial for him to has comforted me numerous times, giving me blessings and just loving me. Some of the things people have done for me take a lot of effort and time but the majority it has taken only a minute, with little effort.  All of them however are things that have buoyed me up during my trial. The compassion that has been shown has helped me it has been an answer to my prayers. It allows me to get through another day as I find my way through this.
I want to add a little something to the last story about Jesus in the Garden. When Jesus enters the garden he prays to his father, “Father take this cup from me but if not thy will be done.” Even though the father doesn’t remove the trial he sends help, he sends an angel to help our Savior. Sometimes when we enter a trial we ask that it be taken from us, but it may be one we have to deal with for awhile. It is not a bad thing to ask for help and compassion, sometimes we need to be the one who needs to ask and pray. Our Father, will not leave us comfortless.  He will send others to answer our prayers to have compassion on us.
Sometimes we are the ones praying for compassion and sometimes we are the ones giving compassion. I know that compassion truly is a Christ like attribute and it something we should all try to have a little more of. I know that part of why we are here on this earth is to “bear one another’s burdens, to comfort those who need comfort, and to mourn with those who mourn” I challenge you all to do just that. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Finding Joy in this Stage of my Life.

I was asked to do a little "talk" at my Relief Society activity a few weeks ago.. I have had a few people ask if I would post it here so.. here is it.



Finding Joy in this Stage of my Life
Most of the time I am very happy, optimistic person, I live with the philosophy of no regrets and I have a bucket list that I am constantly adding things and crossing things off of.  So, if you know anywhere I can get in some crowd surfing let me know. But the past couple years have been some of the hardest. Things just weren’t going the way that I had planned and I kept waiting. There were a lot of “ I will be happy when..” It was a lot of ups and downs and when I got the call to talk about this subject it was just a week after I had published a blog post about how I was done being sad and I was done waiting and that the time was now to make a change.
I think the biggest difference between what I was expecting at this stage in my life and what it is actually like is reality. And that is why I think sometimes we have a hard time enjoying the stage of life we are in, we have these expectations and when it doesn’t actually happen we become upset.  For instance, I thought that having small children was going to always be fun and games, we were going to play all day and there would be no fighting, the house would stay clean, there would be no financial stress,  and that I would have endless energy to everything I needed to. But it isn’t like that, and because of that some days are really hard. We hear often that there is a “time and a season for everything” and when you really think about this I think that it changes perspectives I know that it has changed mine.  I have been thinking a lot about how every day I live is the only time I will ever have that day. Tomorrow we will all be one day older and even though I am doing a lot of the same things I did the day before, because being a mother is a little repetitious, I will never have today again and so I start to look for all the little things that make that day great. The fact that I didn’t have to rush my kid to get ready for school because he was up on time or when he picks up a book and can read it to me. I look for things like the smile my daughter gives me when she shows me what she learned at dance or when she makes up her own songs and sings them at the top of her lungs.  I realize these moments are precious and that helps me to find joy in this stage in my life. Having this mind set also reminds me to do fun things and to put in a little extra effort. 
In the Ensign this month there is an article written about Happiness and I was so excited when I read this because it applies to this talk and a lot of the things that they talk about that bring happiness in life are things that I have recently started doing. I just want to share a few of them.
#1: Surround yourself with uplifting friends I have started going out of my comfort zone to meet people and we have started invited friends to do things. It is nice to have friends who I can call and talk to or get together with when I am at the end of the rope or even when we just want to have fun. And having fun makes you enjoy things more.  
#2: Set out to do hard things and accomplish them. I find that for myself if I have something to look forward to or if I am planning something or working really hard on my goal it helps me to feel accomplished and that helps me. Not to mention when I complete that goal it gives me a boost of self confidence.
#3: Attend the temple: This will give you an eternal perspective and it helps me realize that my Heavenly Father has a hand in my life and on the days where I am struggling he hasn’t left me but he wants me to grow and learn and to become better. It reminds me that this life is short and we need to enjoy it now and seek out and find the blessing which he gives us. It also helps remind me that I have someone on my side, which is sometimes all I need.
#4: Be present in your family: At dinner we have a strict no technology or toy policy because it allows us to connect with one another without distractions it allows me to see that I have been blessed by having these wonderful people in my life and it reminds me that I love them and I want to be my best for them and I know that in order to do that I need to be happy. I make it a priority to call grandparents, parents, and siblings just to catch up to see if I can help in any way. It helps me feel like I am giving and even if its not something huge I am l reminding them that they are remembered and that they are loved and that is a good feeling. The family is after all a huge part of The Plan of Happiness
#5: Be a peacemaker: You’ve probably heard that contention is of the devil and I believe that. I have 4 older siblings and each one has chosen a slightly different path in life and that makes us full of different ideas and opinions and sometimes it can get very heated. But I find that when I can calm it down and bring things into perspective and help everyone see that we will have to agree to disagree it brings happiness because we are able to enjoy each other more and we have a lot of fun together.
These all sound pretty easy but do they happen all the time? No. Am I always happy in this stage of my life? Absolutely Not. Do I find myself saying things like, “When this happens then I will be happy..” Of Course But I am trying to live in today and do the things I can today and work on doing the things I need to do now so that I can enjoy this stage of my life.
When I sang with the Jenny Phillips Choir we sang a song called “Joy in the Journey” There is a part of it that says “Joy is in the Journey, Joy is when I’m learning to become like him. So even when I’m hurting and the clouds are grey and swirling I can see the beauty in their hue. Happiness is a choice within me. Joy is in the journey.”I believe that it is a choice to find happiness in whatever stage of life you are in.  I will choose to be happy.
 It is easy to look back on your life and think of all the great things you did because most of the time we forget all the hard things. Our perspectives change and one day I will look back on the stage I am in now and I want to be able to remember it will positive memories and be proud that I lived it to the fullest because as everyone says, “ One day I will miss this”
I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Chinese New Year with the Kids

My kids look forward to Chinese New Year and its not like we do anything crazy but I guess they enjoy it so much because it is something new. We get a bunch of Chinese New Year Books from the Library and watch a Ni-Hao Kai-Lan (I like to compare this to Chinese Dora). We dress up in our Chinese clothes and take some pictures.
Then we go on a hunt for Chocolate Chinese Coins....They love this
Then as tradition states they get their red envelopes... However, they aren't filled with actual money.
 
They are filled with Things we will be using during our celebration.
Such as a fortune teller fish
and temporary tattoos
and Stickers with the Year of the Monkey on them so they can make their pictures
 
 And this year we made Monkey hats... Which turned out so cute.
I am glad that my kids will do these things with me it break up the monotony of life right? don't forget that my husband is a good sport too....

video
Happy Chinese New Year!!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Chinese New Year Party

Something that helps get me out of my sad moods is having something to look forward too. So, we have a lot of traditions that we do here at the house. (Just want to thank my husband for going along with it all.) Most of the traditions are little things we do and a small family but there are quite a few that take some planning time and involve other people. That is the case with this tradition.

This tradition started about 8 years ago, give or take a year. My husband served a mission in Taiwan and because of that we have a lot of really cool Asian stuff and so I decided we should host a Chinese New Year Party. So we did. It consisted of us and some friends and their kids. We made some curry dinner and a few other Chinese dishes and I handed out some red envelopes with a dollar in it.... Suffice it to say the party has changed quite a bit.
Our party is now basically a dinner for adults and we have a few games and trivia. It has been a lot of fun. The best part about traditions is that the longer you have them the more time you have to figure out what works what doesn't and make it better. So let me give you a quick run down of what happens.
First you get the Invitations out. It is important that people RSVP on this one because they are helping provide the dinner, and its nice to know how many to plan for. I find that if people help provide the food things are way less stressful on the host.
Next, is set up. Last year it was so squishy and we had a bunch of small tables this year I literally put my couches and my chair and love sac in the front room spilling out so we could have room. I loved this set-up it was much more social and less squishy. 

I did this all the night before and trust me it was way less stressful.
I put together a Chinese Trivia that everyone does until everyone shows up and then we eat... Lots and Lots of delicious Chinese Food.
We have Hi-Chews, Pocky, and Fortune Cookies for the sweet tooths.
After everyone has had their fill we correct the trivia and talk a little about the traditions of Chinese New Year and the characteristics of those born in the year we are celebrating.
Then I pull out the chopsticks and the cotton balls and as couples we do a timed race. For 30 seconds one member of the partnership try and get as many cotton balls into the bowl, one at a time using chopsticks, then they switch and the other partner has 30 seconds to do the same. It is actually pretty fun. 
Then we do pictures we do a group picture and couple pictures.... For those that know me know that pictures are mandatory at my parties, because I love them. We have props for people to use for their couple pictures too.
Then of course because their aren't kids we sit around and chat and relax... (Don't fill bad for the kids I will celebrate with them on Monday and then post about what we do.)
At the end of the party you can't leave without a party favor. For the party favors I put a few things into the red envelope. A fortune telling fish, 2 chocolate coins, A Chinese temporary tattoo, and some Chinese New Year Monkey Stickers.
 So that is the gist of it. It a lot of fun for me and I look forward to it every year.
How many of you throw a Chinese New Year Party?

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Working on Me


A New Year…. And a New Perspective
I have now been on fertility medications for over 3 months…. Still not pregnant.
All of our tests have come back saying that everything is fine and seeing as how our first 2 came without problems the next shouldn’t either.
Ha Ha….
The last 2 years I have been using my wanting to get pregnant as an excuse, an excuse not to get healthy. I would think to myself, well if I work out too hard it might throw my body out of whack and then I won’t be able to get pregnant.  (Plot Twist: Apparently your body is out of whack already) Or even worse I would think, I will probably get pregnant next month and just put all the weight back on so why try… Well after doing this for 2 years I find myself extremely out of shape and a tad overweight.
So, I have decided that this year I am living in the now. I am working out with a trainer 2 times a week, I am watching what I eat and I am making a conscious effort to move more throughout the day.  I have decided that I might get pregnant next month…. But seeing how things are going I probably won’t and I don’t want to be stagnant anymore. I want to be healthy and feel better about me. I want to try and fix the things that I know I can fix, even if they aren’t easy.  I want to be continuously working on being a better me.
This obviously encompasses more than just health and I am working on that too. One thing that I have thought about a lot when it comes to infertility, is how it is so hard but, it becomes easier with the knowledge that my Heavenly Father has a plan for me and while it isn’t the plan I had for myself I have to trust and have faith that his plan is ultimately better for me. Does this mean it doesn’t hurt when the pregnancy test is negative again? Of course not but it makes the pain a little easier to deal with when I think that my Heavenly Father has something in store for me and while I can only see small glimpses he sees the whole picture.  Who knows it could be Epic… ya know? 
The other thing I have been trying to work out is this depression that I have been dealing with the last couple months. I keep trying to place blame on the medications but it is more and I am done using it as an excuse to wallow and pity myself and waste away my life. While I have been doing this I have been missing out on all the beauty and blessings I have in my life. I am going to start looking for the things I have instead of focusing on the things that I don’t have.  I am going to see what I can do to try and fix it. Even if it doesn’t go away at least I will know I tried my best.
So, while I am working on bettering me I am finding that I am working on trusting in my Heavenly Father and my Savior and trusting that their grace, an enabling power, that I will be able to find happiness and health, to find me again.
My hope is that for you out there struggling with infertility that you will be able to find that grace that is promised you. That grace that will help you to focus on the things we can work on and fix. That you will find a peace in knowing that the Lord cares and as hard as it is for us trust in him Take it one step at a time and know that you are not alone.
I just want to leave you will this quote   “Just do the very best you can each day!” – Elder Ballard