Friday, September 30, 2011

Book of Mormon forum.

EnsignTomorrow marks a new month.

It is also marks a special feature month for the Ensign magazine.

The Ensign is a magazine distributed monthly around the world, containing messages and prophetic council for everyone.  For the month of October, the magazine will be all about The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ.

For those of you that don’t know,
the Book of Mormon is the keystone of my religion.

It too is ancient scripture, read alongside the Bible .. because if it teaches the teachings of Christ, then it compliments and enhances the Bible.

If it is true, then the boy Joseph Smith really was a prophet like Moses and Abraham.

If it is true, then it really is a record of the inhabitants of people in the ancient Americas.

If it is true, then it proves that God really does reveal Himself and His gospel to all his children.

Would you like to know more about what I’m talking of? What if it is true?

For the entire month of October, I will be participating in a Book of Mormon Forum, hosted by We Talk of Christ We Rejoice in Christ.

I plan on blogging about my personal study of specific events in the Book of Mormon according to a series of paintings.  I also want to prove something – that the Book of Mormon can answer your every question.

Please read, comment, and start thinking up questions you want answered.

Stay tuned!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Murder at Pemberley?

P.D. James + Jane Austen = Murder for Elizabeth & Darcy.

Pride and Prejudice

I kid you not.

I read this article just today.  It seems the brilliant P.D. James is not only a great crime author, but a big fan of Austen.  As most women are.  And now, she wants to combine both her loves into a Pride & Prejudice sequel .. filled with murder and suspicion.

The Darcy's perfect world is disturbed when Lydia Wickham, Elizabeth's youngest sister, appears on the eve of the autumn ball screaming that her husband has been murdered.

James has already spent two years researching .. so the final product must be close.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Thought for Friday.

I love art.

I studied art all through high school and university.  My mother is an artist.  I've surrounded myself with art all my life.  I have books to every exhibition and museum I have been through. 
And I love art.

Come on a quick journey with me ...


A beautifully crafted portrait. 

Now see him walk around:


Wait, is the portrait walking around the subway??!



I really like this portrait.  Very realistic and moving.


Wait, is she looking at me now??

[Images from here and here.]

Watch how it's done:


Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Family Proclamation has impacted us.

How the Proclamation has impacted your family or you personally.

Do you have an experience that you love that has inspired you?

Do you have some way that the proclamation has impacted your family?

My first thought it this: the Church doesn’t proclaim a whole lot. It doesn’t publish proclamations very often.  In fact, it’s only done so five times – The Family: Proclamation to the World being the most recent.  That fact alone tells me that this is serious business
It tells me that The Family Proclamation is highly important, that it needs to be taken seriously, and that it needs to infiltrate my life.

Infiltrate.  Permeate.  Saturate.  Fill my life with meaning, instruction, and joy.

That would be my next thought: Joy.  I’ve always been fascinated with this tiny word, and just how much it encompasses.  Joy is truly our purpose in life.  Regardless of our religious persuasion, our cultural heritage, our upbringing, our current situation - the journey to find JOY is what keeps us going.  It’s the goal.

And how can family not be a part of that goal?  I’m willing to say that 99% of all “families” (whatever that entails) are not 100% … normal.  Functional.  Perfect.

And that is okay.

Because we need the perfect ideal to strive for.  We need the divine council.
And because JOY can be found in the journey.

Turning to The Family Proclamation, we read how.

From it, we know what our role is.  Each of us is a divine child of God; our gender and our differences mean something!  It clearly expresses who we are, and reiterates our purpose.

As future parents, it gives Matthew and I clear direction.  We know our specific roles within the family, and how we can provide for our future children.  I loved feeling prepared, and what better way than to know what I have been designed and created for, and what my potential is.

Together, we use the Proclamation as a tool of preparation.

We know who is to provide and nurture, and how best to do that.  We know what is required.  And we know that our Heavenly Father wants the same, so He will help.


This proclamation is the plan for us and our families.  And see those very profound black and white statements in there?  They are truths.  Truths we should stand by, and live.

This post was inspired by these blogs, as they blog about the Family Proclamation and celebrating the family unit.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

How to not break the Sabbath.

I have just returned from a weekend away with half of my sister-in-laws and some of their cousins.  I have many women floating around in my life now, and so when a crafty-quilting-getaway weekend was proposed, I decided to take the chance of getting to know these women better.  And watch them be all crafty-quilty-like.

Whenever travelling, I like to try my best to keep the Sabbath day holy.  It should always be a reverent day, set apart from the rest, no matter where we are.  I have travelled a lot - both with family and by myself - and I always think the following when compiling my ‘What to Pack’ list:  
  • Where will I be on the Sundays I’m away, and is there a chapel close by?
    I always use to look up and print the meeting times and location details
  • What can I take with me (whether physically attend church or not) to keep the Sabbath day holy?

For this particular weekend getaway, knowing that attending church wasn’t an option, I chose to pack my scriptures and study journal.

And so we sat in the sun, next to ducks and running water, and read our scriptures for a while.  I felt happier, knowing that I had still remembered the Sabbath.

I feel it is so important to remember the Sabbath Day.  It needs to be set apart from the rest
All of us have a birthday.  It’s a day for us to eat cake.  To be remembered.  It’s your day.  Simply put, that is what the Sabbath day is – it is Heavenly Father’s day, and so on that day we treat it differently to other days of the week.

There’s a story about Eli Herring, an offensive lineman at BYU, in the October 1997 New Era magazine.  Eli was a very big guy - according to John Bytheway, he looked “like a major appliance with legs”.  And everyone was sure he would be picked in the first round in the NFL draft. But as the time approached, Eli announced he didn’t want to enter the draft.  The media didn’t understand that decision at all.  Eli explained to the media it was because the games were on a Sunday, and he didn’t want to play on Sundays.

The media still didn’t get it.

“Now I have to tell you, I know some people personally, professional athletes, that play on Sunday” said Bytheway in this great clip.

“They have made that decision.  They have been prayerful about it, fasted about it I’m sure.  My point is not that some people have to work on Sunday, some do.  My point is what Eli Herring’s father said.  … ‘Our great-grandfathers called it the Holy Sabbath Day; our grandfathers called it Sabbath; our fathers called it Sunday; and now we just call it the weekend.’”

Where is it with me? 
Is it Holy Sabbath, the Sabbath, Sunday, or is it just kinda the weekend?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

a Family Photo Essay.

When you read a line in the proclamation, does it stand out to you because of something in your family?  Can you illustrate some of the proclamation with photos from your family?

Using our wedding photos, the following illustrate sentences from the Family Proclamation that stand out to me.

marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.

Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny.

Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.

Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live.

Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.

This post was inspired by these blogs, as they blog about the Family Proclamation and celebrating the family unit.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sacrament talks.

Just like testimony meetings, sacrament talks can put me on edge when I hear the following:

1. "I’d like to thank Brother So-and-so for the opportunity to speak today … I did see him coming towards me in the corridor, and I tried to avoid eye contact, and push primary children out of my way to run off, and say I might be sick that day ... but here I am."

2. "I hate giving talks in sacrament.  I try to avoid doing it."

3. "I am so nervous ... I’m such a bad speaker."

4. "I was clearly given this topic because I need to work on it."

5. "So I looked up the definition of ‘repentance’ on Wikipedia …"

Okay, I slightly exaggerate, but you've totally heard opening paragraphs like these.

For me, I draft my talk well in advance, and time it several times.  That’s just how I operate.  And I am always well over the time limit - just like how I am always over the word limit for school essays and assignments. 

So why would I waste time in sacrament meeting by telling you how Brother So-and-so asked me to speak?  And then go on and tell you my life story?  And rely on definitions as my opening paragraph?

Remember, this is what NOT to do!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Family Mission Statement.

Does your family have a mission statement?
What is it?  How did you get it?  What inspired you to write that one in particular?

Ours is a brand new family of two.  So should we have a mission statement?  It's something I hadn't really thought about, because we don't have any kids.

Now that the question is out there, I guess there is nothing to lose in having one.  To define our purpose as a family ain’t a bad idea.  Being the highly over-organised creature that I am, I in fact love the idea.  At the moment, however, it feels like our purpose simply revolves around saving money and staying on top of all our commitments.  Wait ... that just sounds like life.

So maybe our mission statement should be “Survive and Sleep”.  How does that sound?

“Save and Rest”.  “Keep focused on the goals”.

To be honest, we are doing really well.  We are working as much as we can; saving the majority of the income and watching interest grow; and ensuring that time together is a high priority.  We formally listed our goals at the beginning of the year, and we review informally from time to time.

(It’s probably time we reviewed some of those goals again … guitar playing, anyone? Read ALL standard works? We are a highly ambitious lot.)

I am looking forward to having our own home soon.  I have already drafted family rules, traditions and such for our new home together.  So perhaps formalising a Family Mission Statement for our family of two ain’t a bad idea after all.

Any suggestions?  What is your family mission statement?

**Update - the husband has since suggested a mission statement, based on our current lifestyle (see comment below): "Wake up, work, eat, work, say hello, eat, work, sleep".  Inspiring, no?

This post was inspired by Welcome to the Madness, as they blog about the Family Proclamation and celebrating the family unit.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Thought for Friday.

This weekend, I want you to think about kindness.

Sometime we are just too quick to judge others.  We see how they are dressed and assume who they are and what they are like.  We see the outer appearance, and judge.  We are quick to forget they are a child of God, too.

Civility and kindness go much deeper than appearances and quick judgments. 
Watch, and see how:

We can be quick to react, but we are good people
"... may we have the pure love of Christ for our fellow travelers in this journey through life."

Enjoy the weekend!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Father's Day.

Last Sunday was Father's Day for us Aussies.

My dad is a rock in my life.  And I've noticed over the years that he has been a rock in heaps of other lives too.  Being involved in politics and the community for well over a decade, and being a wonderful friend to others for well over half a century, my dad is truely great.

I might have mentioned this before, but I'd love to write the book of his life one day.  It is an adventure!  He was born to a small family in Walgett, a small community about eight hours north-west of Sydney where two big rivers meet.  Basically in the middle of nowhere.  It's a lot emptier today than it was when he grew up there.  Since that time, he's been to boarding school, a monastery, international business, and politics.  He's the great father to five, grandfather to three, and a close friend of mine.

His birthday is always the week before Father's Day, so this year I combined the effort and sent him this:

Good thing we have the same humour.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Time Out for Women - Choose to Become [review part 10]

A recap of the messages I heard and felt.

… the continuation of review part 9, and final in this review series.

The next part of Sheri Dew's presentation was a highlight.  She illustrated a few of the tactics Satan uses on us.  This was such a highlight for me, because for the past year I have been doing a lot of research on Satan.  I’ll let you know when the book is out.

Candid Camera clip

Watch this.

This is a funny clip, experimenting with people and illustrating that they so easily conform to the behaviour that is around them.  Is it showing us peer pressure, and the oh-so obvious influence of others?  We all have influence.  Who are you influencing?  And who is influencing you?  Do they have the ideal goals; are they heading in the right direction?

That actually reminds me of another talk by John Bytheway entitled No Brainers.  ‘Choose your friends wisely’ was no-brainer number one, something I’d love to explore more about another time.  He said this: if someone asked you “do you want a ride?”, you typically ask back “where are you going?”.  It’s the question parents ask teens as they leave the house: where are you going and who are you going with?  This is a great question to ask with an eternal perspective.  Think big, and ask yourself where to you want to go?  Heaven?  Some place with maximum happiness?  Maximum freedom?  Alright then, how are you going to get there?  Are you with people that are going that direction?

Note: once you get in the car, you’re going where they’re going.  You become the ‘passenger’ to your peers.  Fill in the blank: If your friends are doing _____, then chances are you are doing _____.  If your friends compromise their standards, then chances are you are too.

Dove commercial

Watch this.

A lot of the world we live in is an illusion.

The words in the clip are spot on: “No wonder our perception of beauty is distorted”.  We are so tempted every day to question our body and image, but the model doesn’t even look like that!

Sheri quoted Temple President Douglas L. Callister of the Bountiful Utah Temple: “When we enter the temple, we leave the world of make believe.”  How do you think this is so?  Have you ever been past a Mormon temple?  They will be different designs in terms of architecture, but their design will always exude symmetry and order.  They will always be white; a constant beacon to all of purity and cleanliness.  The gardens will always be structured and tidy.  And all this reflects the inside of the temple – clean, orderly, pure, calm, and holy.

Last month’s theme in Primary was My Body Is a Temple.  I saw how simple illustrations of how we can keep our bodies clean and healthy taught the children that they were just as holy as the nearby temple.  Of course, it helps if we are taught from a young age the important of showering, eating fruit, saying no to smoking and tattoos, and humming a favourite hymn to wipe bad thoughts away.  Yet as we grow up, it is so hard not to feel influence from peers, magazine covers, and colourful fashion trends.

Sheri asked us: “Are we taking influence from the world? At some point, that’s a problem.”

President George Q. Cannon was pretty clear when he said we were reserved for this day.  This brings to mind my absolute favourite talk ever, by a man named Hyrum Smith (not that Hyrum Smith, this Hyrum Smith).  He spoke at Ricks College (now Brigham Young University Idaho) about the apostasy, and his testimony as to why the gospel of Jesus Christ was restored when and where it was restored.  Seriously brilliant.  Gosh I love the apostasy (another research project of mine).  At the conclusion of Elder Smith’s remarks, he tells us listeners that the cosmos didn’t just blimp, and out we came when we were born.  No!  We were born when we were born because that is exactly when we were meant to be born. 

He then reiterated a story: President David O. McKay was not busy one Sunday evening, and so he and his wife went to a local stake centre and found a stake president speaking to a group of youth.  He came in, sat down in about the eight row, and the stake president almost died.  Or as Elder Smith said “he about swallowed his tie”.  The stake president continued speaking, and then some time during his remarks, he stopped.  And said, in Elder Smith’s paraphrasing words: “You know, young people, I feel impressed to tell you that before the world was; you were all captains and generals in the Lord’s army.”  And then he continued on with his talk, it had nothing to do with his talk.  Afterwards, the stake president felt President McKay’s eyes drilling him, and so he approached and asked if he had said anything that was inappropriate.  “You were just inaccurate.  There were no captains here tonight.  They were all generals.  And don’t you forget it.”  President McKay then walked out and left.

What is my point?  My point is that we were somebody before we got here (hence being reserved for this day) and we are somebody now.

We are here now because we are meant to be.  And the Lord knew we could do what He wants us to do.  Therefore, we need to keep FOCUSED.  Make sure you are concentrating.  No illusions, no distractions.

Why not go and ask Him to turn your weaknesses into strengths?

End of Time Out For Women 2011 review.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Slide to work.

When the commute to work gets to be too much (especially when riding with poo-smelling people) ...

... just slide your way in front.

The Dutch made a slide for those running late.  It's called a 'transfer accelerator'.  Seriously.

And, it plays Bach music at night.

Love the reporter: seems we have become as lazy as Americans.  Soon we will be just as fat. 

Should we write to our local councillors and ask for one?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Today on the bus.

I thoroughly enjoy the time I have each morning on the bus to work.  It's a short time every day all to myself.  I listen to ABC Classic FM on my handy-dandy smartphone, listening to classical music and making mental notes of new pieces to play, and either planning/writing lists or reading a book.  I'm in the middle of a John Grisham book at the moment, which so far has nothing to do with law, politics or crime.  I'm confused.

This morning, I smelt poo.  I was sitting there next to the window, in my own little world of classical music, hidden by my new beachy-blue sunnies, and reading my book, when this old lady sat next to me and smelt like POO.

At first, I was disgusted.  She looked a decent sort of lady, but that was totally decieving.  Clearly.  Can anyone else smell that?  And then after several stops, I started thinking about how I could move seats without being too .. noticeable.  She would have to get up out of her seat to let me out, only to see me just sit down again somewhere else.  And then the bus driver might thinking I was getting off and stop.

Then I started to think .. wait, is it ME??  It was ... possible, as I live in a house with two dogs that poo anywhere and where many people walk dogs and don't pick up afterwards.  Maybe I stepped in something as I calmly walked akwardly ran to the bus? 

So I spent the remainder of my classical time-out morning trying to look at the soles of my shoes without bumping the poo lady off her seat.  I eventually had to wait until we both got off the bus to check.

Needless to say,  it wasn't me.

Thought for Friday.

Your Family = the people you know best; mother, father, brothers, and sisters. 
Heavenly Father put you in a family so you would have people to love you, teach you, and help you grow.

Shh ... the princess is sleeping!  Gotta love that family is at our very core of our faith.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Book Thief

Gosh.  Finally getting around to this one ... so many books in my head right now!

This one is a keeper.  I will not read it over and over in a short amount of time - it is a little draining, sometimes, but a great read for the soul nonetheless.

It's about a girl.  And Death.
In Munich.

The story is of a girl – the book thief – who lived in Germany during Hitler’s reign of terror.

The narrator of this story is Death, who clarifies his image and purpose for us readers. No dark cloak, no saithe, but thoughtful, aware, and detectable by the few in-tune people who can feel his presence and smell.

I really liked this book. The words are poetic and crafted so well, so even when the story line moves slowly, it is delightful to read.

The best part is it’s about a girl who steals books. That instantly grabs me. And with her and her book-stealing ways, we are taken on a journey through finding the joy in a dreary, scary time.

Highly recommended.

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