Archive for May, 2011

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.

Desire

Aron Ralston“Few will have the kind of crisis that motivated Aron Ralston, but his experience provides a valuable lesson about developing desires. While Ralston was hiking in a remote canyon in southern Utah, an 800-pound (360 kg) rock shifted suddenly and trapped his right arm. For five lonely days he struggled to free himself. When he was about to give up and accept death, he had a vision of a three-year-old boy running toward him and being scooped up with his left arm. Understanding this as a vision of his future son and an assurance that he could still live, Ralston summoned the courage and took drastic action to save his life before his strength ran out. He broke the two bones in his trapped right arm and then used the knife in his multitool to cut off that arm. He then summoned the strength to hike five miles (8 km) for help.  What an example of the power of an overwhelming desire!

When we have a vision of what we can become, our desire and our power to act increase enormously.

Most of us will never face such an extreme crisis, but all of us face potential traps that will prevent progress toward our eternal destiny. If our righteous desires are sufficiently intense, they will motivate us to cut and carve ourselves free from addictions and other sinful pressures and priorities that prevent our eternal progress. We should remember that righteous desires cannot be superficial, impulsive, or temporary. They must be heartfelt, unwavering, and permanent. So motivated, we will seek for that condition described by the Prophet Joseph Smith, where we have “overcome the evils of [our lives] and lost every desire for sin.” That is a very personal decision.”
 
Let us remember that desires dictate our priorities, priorities shape our choices, and choices determine our actions. In addition, it is our actions and our desires that cause us to become something, whether a true friend, a gifted teacher, or one who has qualified for eternal life.”  Desire, Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
 
I love this story and for the opportunity to live here on earth and gain experience through trails and tribulations that–if endured well–we will find we have accomplished much more than if we chose to quit.  I know God has a plan for our lives and that with his help we can come off conqueror.  I know that that is true and you can too!!

I believe in short and sweet

To my mommy,

Mom, I love you.

I love your eyes.  Bright, genuine, soft

I love your smile.  Big, happy, and lines from years of laughter.

I love your arms.  They’ve always held me tight.

I love, love, love your hands.  Wrinkles and all.  Beautiful and worn.

This is my mom:

“I don’t want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully, tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails.
I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp.
I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbors children.
I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone’s garden.
I want to be there with children’s sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder.
I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived.”
Marjorie Pay Hinckley

Happy Mother’s Day Mom!!