Three Billy Goats Gruff

So this is one of my favorite stories, a Norwegian fairytale! And it goes something like this:

Once upon a time there were three billy goats, who were to go up to the hillside to make themselves fat, and the name of all three was “Gruff.”

On the way up was a bridge over a cascading stream they had to cross; and under the bridge lived a great ugly troll , with eyes as big as saucers, and a nose as long as a poker!

So first of all came the youngest Billy Goat Gruff to cross the bridge.

“Trip, trap, trip, trap! “

went the bridge.

“Who’s that tripping over my bridge?”

roared the troll .

“Oh, it is only I, the tiniest Billy Goat Gruff , and I’m going up to the hillside to make myself fat,” said the billy goat, with such a small voice.

Now, I’m coming to gobble you up,” said the troll.

“Oh, no! don’t take me. I’m too little, that I am,” said the billy goat. “Wait a bit till the second Billy Goat Gruff comes. He’s much bigger.”

Well, be off with you,” said the troll.

A little while after came the second Billy Goat Gruff to cross the bridge.

Trip, trap, trip, trap, trip, trap,

went the bridge.

“Who’s that tripping over my bridge?”

roared the troll.

“Oh, it’s the second Billy Goat Gruff , and I’m going up to the hillside to make myself fat,” said the billy goat, who hadn’t such a small voice.

Now I’m coming to gobble you up,” said the troll.

“Oh, no! Don’t take me. Wait a little till the big Billy Goat Gruff comes. He’s much bigger.”

Very well! Be off with you,” said the troll.

But just then up came the big Billy Goat Gruff .

Trippity, trap, trippity, trap, trippity, trap!

went the bridge, for the billy goat was so heavy that the bridge creaked and groaned under him.

“Who’s that tramping over my bridge?”

roared the troll.

“It’s I! The big Billy Goat Gruff ,” said the billy goat, who had an ugly hoarse voice of his own.

Now I ‘m coming to gobble you up,” roared the troll.

“Well, come along!  I’ve got two great spears,  And I’ll poke your eyeballs out at your ears…”

–EEEEEERRT!!!  Okay, this is where it get’s a little gruesome so I’ll just give an alternate, more…happy ending!–

The troll crawled into his dark hole underneath the bridge never to bother anyone again.  You know why?  Because he got scared to DEATH!  Really.  He died, yes he did.  And the big Billy Goat Gruff went up to the hillside. There, the billy goats got SO fat that they were not able to walk back again. And if the fat hasn’t fallen off them, why, they’re still fat; and so,

Snip, snap, snout.
This tale’s told out.

_______________________________________________________________________________

Okay, now!  As Isaiah says, relating the scriptures to our lives is so important because we can learn from those who have come before us.  I’ll try to relate this story to the scriptures and to our lives.  We all have many trials (or bridges to cross) while in this life, and Satan (the troll) is lurking and waiting in every dark place to gobble us up!  Now, we won’t sell out our friends, riiiiiight?  *suspicious look*  …Tell the devil to tempt them instead of us (or in the case of the three billy goats, eat the next one that comes along)?   Instead! we have the opportunity to help each other out!  To help our friends, our brothers and sisters cross bridges that we have already crossed–or even to cross them together; to be encouraging and uplifting especially in hard times.  When we go through something difficult, when we cross one of those bridges it enables us to be a savior in a sense.  Not THE Savior, but we can be God’s hands on earth and help guide and save each other!  🙂

You see, when we are able to overcome our trials (bridges) and choose to FEAST upon the words of Christ, to read our scriptures, PRAY, etc (for the billy goats, eating the grass) we will get FAT!  …spiritually, of course!  When we fill our lives with light and are full with good stuff, we will have no desire to go back to bridges we’ve already crossed—to make the same mistakes.  We will be more determined to move forward with greater faith and confidence!  And be more equipped to overcome any more ‘bridges’ that we may come to.  I know this is true because I have been able to feel great joy as I read the scriptures and as I serve others.   So go fatten up on the WORD!!  It will tell you all things what ye should do  🙂  Satan will have NO power over us as we do so.  That is a great promise from God!

7 Days

I have mentioned before, Sisters serve for 18 months.  I have one week left.  The end is near, but I am not done.  I will forever miss this chapter of my life. 

I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed.
The die has been cast.
I have stepped over the line.
The decision has been made.
I am a disciple of Jesus Christ.

I will not look back, let up, slow down, back away or be still.
My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is secure.
I’m finished and done with low living, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tainted visions, worldly talking, cheap giving, and dwarfed goals.
I no longer need pre-eminence, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity.
I don’t have to be first, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded.

I now live by faith, lean on his presence, am uplifted by prayer, and labor with power.
My face is set, my gait is fast and my goal is Heaven.
My road is narrow, my way is rough.
My companions are few, my guide is reliable, my mission is clear.

I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, divided, diluted, or delayed.
I will not flinch in the fare of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.
I will not give up, shut up, or let up until I have stayed up, stored up and paid up for the cause of Christ.
I must go ’til he comes.  Give until I drop.  Preach all I know.  And work ’til he stops me and when he returns for his own.
And when He returns for His own, He will have no problem recognizing me.

MY BANNER WILL BE CLEAR!

Serving as a missionary for the church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-day Saints has changed my life and helped me to realize what is really important.  I’m grateful for the many things I’ve learned.  Here are just a few:

Love everyone.  Be kind to everyone.  We’re all fighting a hard battle.  –Marjorie Pay Hinckley

The ability to recieve, recognize and act of the promptings of the Spirit is the most important skill that can be aquired in the life.  –Julie B. Beck

Studying with consistancy and intensity yeilds the greatest power to change ourselves and help others.

Make every moment worth remembering.

Look, Act and Live what you know to be true. 

Trust in God always and in ALL ways.

Stay positive even when the journey gets rough. 

Don’t complain.  No one likes to hear it.

Be yourself and have confidence in who you are and what you can do.

There’s no such thing as being “all set”.

Jesus is the ChristJoseph Smith was His prophet.  We can know as we study and pray about the Book of Mormon, which is true.  We have a living prophet today. 

I will always be a missionary.

 

 

 

Flashback

I can’t believe I’m old enough to use the phrase, “When I was a kid…”

When I was a kid:

George Bush Sr. is elected President.

The greenhouse effect is discovered.

America’s Most Wanted debuts.

Prozac is introduced to the public.

CD’s outsell albums for the first time.

#1 Song of The Year: Roll With It – Steve Winwood.

Top grossing film of the year: Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

Penny Loafers with a penny in them and Levis with the cuffs rolled up were the fashion statements of the year.

Average price of a car in 1988: $14065.00

Average price of a gallon of milk in 1988: $2.00

Average price of a loaf of bread in 1988: $0.61

Average price of a stamp in 1988: $0.25

Cost of a gallon of gas: between 72 cents and 98 cents

 

When my mom was a kid:

The soviet Union puts Sputnik III into orbit with a total payload of 7,000 lbs and called it a “flying laboratory”.

The median U.S. family income is $5,087 and half of the families income is below the median.

A gallon of gasoline was 30 cents per gallon.

Levi’s cost $3.75 for one pair.

Mutt & Jeff’s hot dog was 25 cents, french-fries 10 cents and a coke was 10 cents.  We ate lunch for less than 50 cents.

 

IHOP opened it’s first restaurant in Los Angeles.

Stereo records are introduced

The U.S. launches it’s first communications satellite.

Aluminum cans first produced by Kaiser Aluminum.

President Eisenhower signs the Alaska Statehood Act into US law.

“Splish Splash” by Bobby Darin was a big hit.

Sugar Ray Robinson wins the middleweight boxing title for a record fifth time.

Americans buy 100 million hula-hoops, introduced by Wham-O, Mfg.

 

It’s fun to see, (or sometimes not so fun to see) how times have changed.  But!  No matter how young or old we are, one thing doesn’t change.  Diapers or wrinkles, binkies or dentures, we are all children of a loving God who will lift us if we fall. 


sMaLl and SiMpLe ThInGs

Back home I would play a game with some of my friends that we called ‘small and simple things’.  This is how it worked.  When any of us were down or just didn’t feel particularly cheery, one of us would say something like: hot towels fresh from the dryer.  Did I just hear an “Ahhhhh…” through the computer screen?!  Good!  A small and simple thing that brings great comfort or joy.  Anytime one of us shot out a super random comment such as this, the rest of us caught on pretty quickly and added on:  brushing your teeth.  getting an ‘i love you’ text.  a child’s laugh.  smell of baking brownies.  puppies.  sitting by a fireplace.  jumping into a pool on a hot day.  getting a candy bar in the check out line.  flip flops.  snow angels.  sneezing. light turns green right as you approach it.  making a fort.  popsicles.  newly trimmed hair.  a foot massage.  the list goes on and on.

ChAlLeNgE:  this week, when you’re down, explain this game to a friend and play.  It won’t take long for your mind to leave your troubles and start thinking hard about all of the small and simple things we might fail to see in our everyday life.

Watch this clip and look for ways you can turn bad or awkward situations into beautiful memories.  What matters the very most?

I know as we focus on what matters most, we’ll have better attitudes of grattitude and be more ready and willing to help others who are struggling because we have learned to appreciate the little things and learn all we can from the big things.  I know it’s true.  Experiement!  And comment about your experience!!

Kickin’ the Bucket!

I’ve always liked the idea of having a bucket list: a list of things to do before you die. 

I have a friend who is serious about her list.  Crystal made a pact with herself that ANYTHING she put on her list, she had to do.  No matter what.  In her young teenage years, she put ‘go on a road trip across the country without a road map.’  She probably thought it would be all fun and games, money wouldn’t be a problem, not much planning, and quite the adventure.  Well, at least she was right about it being quite the adventure!  Crystal studied maps intensely beforehand (her rule was she couldn’t bring them with her), got a few friends together, saved the money, reserved places to stay, etc, and off they went. 

My first thought when hearing about this experience and all the fun they had was, “I wish I could do that.”  My second thought was, “Well, why can’t I?!”  Maybe not the exact same thing, but something to fulfill a wish I have or had at one time in my life.

What is important to you to pack into this life? 

First of all, “A goal not written down is merely a wish”, so…here are a few pointers on how to set goals, which will help you accomplish both what you want to (like bucket lists) and what you need to.

Step 1: Evaluate (decide what needs to be done). Make a list of the things you would like to know, qualities and abilities you would like to develop, and things you want to accomplish in your life.

Step 2: Plan (what to do and when). Write down the goal and how you plan to reach it. Remember, a goal not written down is merely a wish. If you want to, choose a parent, friend, or leader to whom you will report the progress you make. Set a time to complete your goal and dates along the way to check your progress.

Step 3: Act on the plan. If the goal is something you can do by yourself, do it! If you need help, ask someone to help you complete your goal.

Step 4: Report on progress and results. Meet with the person to whom you chose to report your progress. Tell what you have done and check your progress. Some of your goals may be confidential.

Last tip:  You can also check yourself or always report them to Heavenly Father in prayer.  I know He loves to see our progress and help us when we need it!

What if we felt the same way Crystal did about our goals?  If we just had to accomplish every single one of them!  It takes a little planning and a little patience, but not many things are impossible!  Try to apply these steps to something you’re trying to accomplish now!  I’d love to hear about your experience.  Please comment!!

Creation and Cooperation

Facts about the Earth:  its size is perfect. The Earth’s size and corresponding gravity holds a thin layer of mostly nitrogen and oxygen gases, only extending about 50 miles above the Earth’s surface. If Earth were smaller, an atmosphere would be impossible, like the planet Mercury. If Earth were larger, its atmosphere would contain free hydrogen, like Jupiter. Earth is the only known planet equipped with an atmosphere of the right mixture of gases to sustain plant, animal and human life.

The Earth is located the right distance from the sun. Consider the temperature swings we encounter, roughly -30 degrees to +120 degrees. If the Earth were any further away from the sun, we would all freeze. Any closer and we would burn. Even a fractional variance in the Earth’s position to the sun would make life on Earth impossible. The Earth remains this perfect distance from the sun while it rotates around the sun at a speed of nearly 67,000 mph. It is also rotating on its axis, allowing the entire surface of the Earth to be properly warmed and cooled every day.

And our moon is the perfect size and distance from the Earth for its gravitational pull. The moon creates important ocean tides and movement so ocean waters do not stagnate, and yet our massive oceans are restrained from spilling over across the continents.

Water:  colorless, odorless and without taste, and yet no living thing can survive without it. Plants, animals and human beings consist mostly of water (about two-thirds of the human body is water). You’ll see why the characteristics of water are uniquely suited to life:

It has an unusually high boiling point and freezing point. Water allows us to live in an environment of fluctuating temperature changes, while keeping our bodies a steady 98.6 degrees.

Water is a universal solvent. This property of water means that thousands of chemicals, minerals and nutrients can be carried throughout our bodies and into the smallest blood vessels.

Water is also chemically neutral. Without affecting the makeup of the substances it carries, water enables food, medicines and minerals to be absorbed and used by the body.

Water has a unique surface tension. Water in plants can therefore flow upward against gravity, bringing life-giving water and nutrients to the top of even the tallest trees.

Water freezes from the top down and floats, so fish can live in the winter.

Ninety-seven percent of the Earth’s water is in the oceans. But on our Earth, there is a system designed which removes salt from the water and then distributes that water throughout the globe. Evaporation takes the ocean waters, leaving the salt, and forms clouds which are easily moved by the wind to disperse water over the land, for vegetation, animals and people. It is a system of purification and supply that sustains life on this planet, a system of recycled and reused water.

Creation:   “Creating is not making something from nothing.  Creating is organizing and seeing the virtue in things and bringing them into a harmonious relationship.  …That must be the way God works.  He has all of this stuff:  things, people; each with virtues.  Each with things inherent about them and, He has the ability to bring those things into perfect juxtaposition to something that’s good…IF those things let Him.”

Robert Miligon said, “If all the elements were obeying all the rules of chemistry you would never die.  There is rebellion in the flesh and they’re called “seeds of death.”  God can command the elements and He has given us commandments, but we have the ability to chose.  Adam and Eve consiously chose to partake of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil to fulfill God’s greater commandment to multiply and replenish the earth.  In other words, introduce mortality and death into the world so we had a way, as God’s Spirit children, to recieve a body and come to this beautiful earth that He has created for us.  I’m grateful for Adam and Eve.  Without that decision, we could not be here.

 

Too Much To Carry?

As I was thinking about what to write the past few days, I have felt we’ve met a lot of people–particularly lately–who are overwhelmed with the burdens that exist in their lives.  Most seem to be a result of personal choices, some feel the effects of other peoples choices, and natural disasters can also dim our hope and make it harder to see that everything will be okay.  Some are discouraged when they hear, “Well, that’s life,”  but WHY?!!

Let me start with a different question:

Maybe your body doesn’t look like this, but what about your spirit? 

If someone wants to get strong, there must needs be opposition.  No one is going to build much muscle by pushing air.  And when the weight gets too easy, what do you have to do if you want to get even stronger?  Answer:  add more weight! 

In life, it is not always our choice to “add the weight”, but if we have prepared ourselves properly, when the weight comes, we will be able to handle it (1 Ne 3:7, 17:3).  I know that is true because of some recent events that have taken place in my life.  I prepared for this so I am confident everything will be okay, even if at this moment that may seem false.

Being able to take on the weight of our own trials enables us to be strong enough to help others with the trouble they face.  If you have lifted weights before, you know that it is not very smart to lift without someone standing near to help you if the weight gets to heavy.  We can be a “spotter”  for others and help them to not be crushed under the pressure of their weight if we have built sufficent strength through working out  ourselves. 

When we learn what we need to, Christ–our ultimate “spotter”–will “…ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that … you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will [He] do that ye may stand as witnesses for [Him] hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that [He], the Lord God, doth visit [His] people in their afflictions.

“And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon (your name here)…were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord (italics added).1  Mercifully, the Son of God offers us deliverance from the bondage of our sins, which are among the heaviest of all the burdens we bear. When we repent and keep the commandments, forgiveness and relief from our burdened conscience come with the help that only the Savior offers, for “surely, whosoever repenteth shall find mercy.”

So back to our first question.  Why is life so tough?!!  We must remember, “Burdens provide opportunities to practice virtues that contribute to eventual perfection.”  I know that is true.  I have felt the strength of my infinately stronger spotter through by using the Atonement in my life, and am grateful for the knowledge I have of the great plan that God has for us, and the oppotunity to help others.  We invite everyone to learn more of Jesus Christ and put greater faith in Him as our Savior and Redeemer.  He is the way, the light and the truth.  And our strength.