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How can repentance help me every day?

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” I love it when people tell me to repent! ” said no one ever. Who likes to be told they are doing things wrong and to to change their ways? Um. Not many.

I’m teaching the Young Women’s Lesson, “How can repentance help me everyday”. I never thought teaching about repentance would be my first choice, but it totally was!..why?? Because I’m discovery repentance really is such a awesome gift to help us live happy and free lives!! Here are my thoughts on the matter:

Dispute the initial unsettling sting of a call to “repent”, I am learning the beauty of repentance is in the delivery and intent of the message. Keeping in mind that it is a loving Savior asking us to repent and knowing the intent is purely out of love and His total desire for us to come to experience even more ridiculously awesome levels of happiness and understanding, we can seriously accept this invitation with total excitement! Yay! We are given the permission, tools, motivation and  power, to change and do better because of it!

I used to tune out talks and lessons on repentance
Once I heard repentance mentioned anywhere I unconsciously excluded myself and assumed it was mainly directed towards serious sins. I viewed it as a rigorous process set aside for those with transgressions requiring serious attention. And while repentance is a powerful thing that can encompass and heal us from even the deepest of sins, I am learning it actually applies more intimately with my personal moment to moment life than I could imagine!

How repentance applies to all.
See, none of us are perfect, right? We all continually fall short of the glory of God. I fumble and grumble and do and think things that make it so it causes inner turbulence and interference between me and the sweet spirit that gives me feelings of peace, happiness and true security. Thankfully, I have repentance to save the day (and the every day moment). I’m seeing that repentance is not continually feeling guilty and weigh down by my less than perfect efforts but it is having a penitent  heart that is eager to improve and willing to change. A heart that hopes for a better self and relationship with Deity. It a hopeful truth that means I can turn around my day and my attitude for the better, into something great, into something that will serve God, my true spiritual self and those around me. It is continually realigning my will to meet that of Gods because that is where I know I am most free and happy. It is a forever awareness of thoughts, feelings, words and actions and steering them in the direction of the Spirit. Since we are not perfect, human and volatile, it is requisite for us to continually to set our selves back to have that life nourishing source, His Spirit and daily, moment to moment repentance is the key. As Elder Neil L. Anderson puts it, “The invitation to repent is rarely a voice of chastisement but rather a loving appeal to turn around and to “re-turn” toward God.”

Many times in my life I didn’t even know I needed to repent.
I didn’t know that I was the one that needed to change to improve my life, instead I usually was just waiting for God to change my circumstances and for Him to just MAKE my life better. But one of the most beautiful things Christ does in our lives is that He helps US change and we are then empowered to change our own personal circumstances.

How are we brought about to change and repentance if we don’t know where and how to start?
It starts with being humble enough to know that there needs a change to be made. But honestly, in my total absentmindedness, sometimes I don’t even know how to be humble enough, but I can tell you, I can certainly be brought there. I’ve seen some of the greatest spiritual changes happen in my life when I had simply exhausted all my own personal efforts of improvement. When everything I ‘tried’ failed to work. When I was tired of seeing the same dead ends and tired of the same sad feeling or feelings of despair. In those moments of utter helplessness and downright humility is when my heart was ready and finally open to accept heaven’s help.

Always in retrospect of moments like this, I am reminded of the scripture, “And they did humble themselves even in the depths of humility; and they did cry mightily to God; yea, even all the day long did they cry unto their God that he would deliver them out of their afflictions.” -Mosiah 21:14

A precursor to many significant inner changes in my life has been deep and ugly sobs of utter defeat, and total sincere longing for the help of God. Those were moments where my heart was at last moldable enough that heaven could perform it’s magic! To begin a wonderful gradual process of repentance, or change or improvement of turning the wretched, prideful, hard, stale parts of my heart and healing the hurt and pointing it more towards God and cause my entire heart to sing sweet happy tunes of relief and JOY!! 

Repentance, It is a process.
It can be a long and gradual process of letting go,  becoming moldable, teachable and flexible. It is relinquishing our pride, the hard parts in us that prevent change, stripping away false preconceived notions about ourselves, others and God. It is abandoning behaviors that do not serve our spiritual progression. It is discarding doubt for trust, casting away fear and clinging on to faith.  The more falsehoods we shake off, the more room for the Spirit to grow and be nourished and more power for it to transform us. It is all conditional on our desire and faith for it to do the work it was intended to do within us.  To let the power of the Atonement, conditional on our repentance, change us deeply and truly and to become the glorious being we were always meant to be.

Love this quote by D. Todd Christofferson’s from his talk “The Divine Gift of Repentance

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Here is the download (4 on a page) to use as a handout in class:

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EXCITING UPDATE! (3/22/14) Here is an object lesson recently ‘came to me’ with for this lesson. ENJOY!

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FREE Printable Birthday cards with Young Women’s colors

Young-Women-happy-birthday-card-value-colors

I’m so excited to share these birthday cards, free for you to print and share with those you love. I created them for my Church Young Women’s Group (more YW stuff here) to wish them them birthday wishes. They sport the Young Women value colors and the 2014 Mutual theme on back, woot!

 

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If you want to use them for more general purposes, here is the same colors without the theme on the back. ENJOY.

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To print with rich colors, I like to use matte photo paper that is compatible with my printer.

For other printable note cards, check out my shop. .

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Poppin by to wish you a sweet valentine’s day! (Free printable tag)

To deliver some love to those you those you find irresistible, I created some tags for valentine’s day for you.
just popping by-valentines-

Here is the download:

Download “just-popping-by.pdf” just-popping-by.pdf – Downloaded 3979 times – 869 KB

Attach these tags to poppin’ goodies to live up the pun like a lollipops, poptarts, blowpops, ringpops,  package of microwave popcorn, soda pop, poprocks (do they still sell those??)  or make some easy peasey 15 min caramel popcorn!  Anymore ideas, list them below. Or forget the punny business and just use them!! ENjoy!!

popcorn

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The Power of CHOICE.

For this lesson and all other faith building material, please fly over to my new site dedicated for all church related content: seekingeternaltruth.com

Seeking Eternal Truth Banner from MT-02

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Why do the choices I make matter?

I’m prepare a Young Women’s Lesson for my church titled, “Why do the Choice I make matter?” I LOVE this topic, the very real power of CHOICE and how it literally governs the outcomes of our lives! Here are some of my thoughts:

Tell me, what ultimately determines our destiny in this life?

-What you look like
-Your personality traits
-The circumstances you were born into
– Your genetic predispositions
-Your IQ
-The social influences that surround you.
-Fortunes or mishaps that occur in your life
-The way you were raised

Those are all huge factors in life, right? So which one is it? What will best tell what our lives will look like? Is it nature or nurture? The great debate! Is it all the weakness and strengths we are born with or the weakness and strengths of our surroundings that will decide the happiness of our life??

Ready for my epiphany moment?

See, even though those factors can have a big influence in the life of person, the ultimate determining factor is actually one’s choices. Ultimately, what we choose to do with what we’ve been given is what determines everything.

That is one BIG FAT POWERFUL TRUTH.

That means that no matter who you are, where you were born, what you look like, how you were raised, how ‘smart’ you are, what choices others make, what happens to you in life, YOU ALWAYS continue to have CHOICE, AGENCY, one of the greatest powers available to you. To choose God, to choose love, to choose the Spirit, to choose peace, to choose JOY, to choose to contribute to humanity! Everytime. With the guiding power of Christ, his enabling Atonement and the Holy Ghost that communicate this to us (or spirit of Christ that is given to every man) WE ARE ALL given the tools to make powerful choices in our lives to bring us great happiness! It is what sets us FREE from all the factors we cannot control in our lives from controlling what and who we become! To ‘act for ourselves and not be acted upon.’

Nephi 2:25 say’s 

Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.

Mean trick of the adversary.

One greatest games that Satan pulls on us ALL the TIME (and enforced by our ‘natural man’) is to make us believe that we simply DON’T have choice! He tries to blinds us to the choices we have and responsibility we have towards our own progression and happiness. He wants us to believe we are victims and forever captive to our situation. As long as we believe it, we will be held captive! That mentality stunts the progress we can make. It comes in beliefs that it is somebody else’s fault that we can’t do something, or that our behavior is excused by this person or situation. Or that our circumstances make it so we can’t be happy, successful or at peace. That people MAKE us angry, MAKE us depressed, MAKE us do things we aren’t proud of. Even though it is our very human nature to believe this when things don’t go smoothly, we are given a greater power through the Atonement of Christ and His Spirit to eventually overcome default reactions and impulses. It gives the strength that help us reclaim our right to peace and happiness, even in difficult situations.

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What it will takes from us.

It mostly likely will require us to have humility, to forgive, to repentance and engage in a gradual process of letting go (again and again and again) but it is available to us! It empowers us to rise above our circumstances and our fallen selves! Yay!

Commitment of choice.

There are solid choices that can be made beforehand that can help keep us undeviated on our journey. Choices that take us to where we want to be and become. If we have written these commitments on paper and in our hearts, when confusion sets in, when we feel lost and weary, when temptation is roaring, when everyone else around us sucumbs to what you know isn’t right, you still know what is right and can continue to choose it. And you will remain unscathed, clean and strong. That is the power of choice.

Sister Elaine S. Dalton ‘choice’ advice:

“When I was a young woman, I learned that some decisions need to be made only once. I wrote my list of things I would always do and things I would never do in a small tablet. It included things like obeying the Word of Wisdom, praying daily, paying my tithing, and committing to never miss church. I made those decisions once, and then in the moment of decision, I knew exactly what to do because I had decided beforehand. When my high school friends said, “Just one drink won’t hurt,” I laughed and said, “I decided when I was 12 not to do that.” Making decisions in advance will help you be guardians of virtue. I hope each of you will write a list of things you will always do and things you will never do. Then live your list.”  ~From her talk “Guardians of Virtue

Here is a printable to taken on the challenge!

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Download “Power of Choice worksheet” decisions-yw-handout.pdf – Downloaded 5568 times – 325 KB

 See other Young Women/LDS Lesson Helps

For other helpful/related posts see:

“What is Jesus Christ Important in my Life”

“How to manage Negative Feelings in a Positve Way”

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Why Christ Matters. A Mother’s saving Grace.

I gave a lesson to the Young Women in my church about preparing to establish a Christ-centered home* this last Sunday. It caused me to put my thoughts together and further reflect about why I feel that Christ matters so much. With Christmas just about here, I felt strongly to announce to the world my own feelings about Christ and why it IS such a big deal that little baby in Bethlehem was born.

Why is it that so much of the world is celebrating the arrival of this person? Why does it matter that Jesus came? How did it affect the world and how does it affect us personally, every day?? I don’t have all the answers, but I have come to know through my experiences a few, simple things that have helped me get closer to answers, to more hope, to more understanding, to greater happiness and to closer to my Savior, Jesus Christ.

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Why does it matter that I base myself, family, home and life around Christ? Let me share a personal story about how I came to better terms to why it matters to me.

I was having one of those moments as a mother that I realized how blatantly short my efforts fell from being the mother I wanted to be. I found that because of my very human limitations, insecurities, fears, and personal weaknesses, I simply could not show love to my kids as beautifully as I wanted.  I got frustrated with them, snapped at them, was easily distracted when I could better be attending their needs and so on. I came to the thought, “Wow, what in the world did my innocent little children do to be raised by a mom like me? Nothing, they did nothing to deserve it. They were just born to me.  I realized that no matter the effort I put in, I would still be lacking somewhere. Simply because I am human, weak, temperamental (can you say hormones?), unwilling, selfish – and- even my very personality and all its flaws that are more or less incompatible with that of my child’s would affect  him and his life. I realized my very shortcomings as a human could one way or another mess up my kid. GULP. What a predicament.

Hope for my kids.

Then like a glimmer of hope in the midst of mental implosion, this scripture came to my mind, “And we atalk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our cchildren may know to what source they may look for a dremission of their sins.” 2 Nephi 25:26

It hit me that the reason I make the effort to teach, talk, celebrate, write and testify of Christ is because it is HE who will do the saving, NOT ME.  If I can just do my best to teach my littles to turn to the Light that is Jesus Christ, they can be redeemed from their weaknesses (sins, insecurities, fears, sorrows), and EVEN the weakness that became theirs because of my influence (my sincere efforts as a mother that simply were not enough). Jesus Christ matters because my children have as much of a chance to enjoy satisfying and true happiness in this life (and the next to come) as I do. Oh what a relief!

Hope for me.

Even though I am human, weak, and SO blunder prone, there is still hope for me as a mother. Christ not only compensates for what I could not do, but enables me to do and be more than I otherwise could on my own as I mother. I have personally experienced the real enabling power of Christ in my life. I have seen it in those moments when I am humble and willing enough to know that I cannot do it alone, when I start relying on His spirit more, those moments of quiet listening to the real voice within that stills me, helps me harness life and myself to do those things that really matter. It comes to me in those miraculous little moments that I didn’t have to get upset, that I stopped and listened, that I sought an opportunity to teach instead instead of punish. Those are the moments that I can more clearly see the light in my child’s eyes, see him for who he is. Love him more sincerely and deeply than ever before and experience a joy more exquisite than I thought possible.

He sets me FREE.

I’ve experienced and still do experience all sorts of heavy and crazy types of slavery. What? Yes. We all do. We are all slaves to nasty slave masters that come in mean voices in our heads, that pushes us around, that say we are not good enough, that suck the life out of us in negativity, guilt, worry, frantic fear of the ridiculous. That voice that keeps us a slave to anything less than joy and keeps us away from really enjoying life and  seeing yourself as the glorious beings we really are. I have learned that those voices can be ignored, can be quieted, and can be overcome. It is a gift and power I have found Christ lends to me. To focus more on His spirit, less on the things that drag me down, more on the inspiring, less on the depressing, more on the things to rejoice about, less on the things to whine about. It is liberating, it is true freedom. (Read an eg of this in this post-My obsession with getting things done and how it block real happiness )

He came so we could receive, know and show LOVE.

If for some reason the idea of Jesus Christ still  seems quite removed for you, perhaps the idea of LOVE can complete it for you. Christ’s whole missions was for love and out of love for us. Christ =LOVE. When we feel true Love we are feeling part of Him. For me it is a feeling that things will be ok, that there is much to be hoped for, much to be happy about, it is a feeling of security within myself, confidence to take on life, the gift of ability to love others and give of myself without fear. He is what makes life beautiful. LOVE is why Christ matters. There is little I want more than Christ and His love in my home.

See helpful object lesson on this topic here.

*For lesson helps: In my lesson we talked about ways to create a Christ-centered home. With the help of resources found in the lesson (specifically “For peace at home by Elder G Scott, Family Proclamation, Becoming Goodly Parents, and scripture references) we listed things that help create a Christ-centered home (Here is a handout to use if you are going to be teaching).

christ centered home

 

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**Update** 4/15/15

I was asked if I could create a handout without the ‘prepare to’ so it can be used for more general purposes like Relief Society or family lessons, etc..Here it is!

 

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Easy Microwave Caramel Popcorn (Free printable)

popcorn

I love sending my Christmas wishes to friends and family during the Holidays. But ya know, for me taking care of my little children alone basically consumes all time and energy, add holiday parties+gift shopping +Christmas traditions (ok, maybe I’m not that mom with many cutsie christmas activities but the ONE we have takes time too!) +cold weather crankies (agh, the gloomy, winter is not my friend, I need me some sun!)  and my good intentions rarely come to fruition. Luckily, earlier this year I come across this super yummy and too simple to be true (oh, but it’s true) microwave caramel popcorn recipe.  I was trying to make caramel popcorn one day but the top google search for caramel popcorn took a whole stinkin’ hour and half to make, (I must have been in quite a  hurry to consume fatty sugary goodness as quick as possible) so I kept looking. I googled microwave caramel popcorn actually hoping to use my already buttered microwave popcorn bags I had but instead I found this recipe.  15 whole minutes to a delicious caramel popcorn, you won’t even believe it was made in the microwave! It does call for air popped popcorn but one of the most wonderful tricks of the trade I have ever learned is that you can actually pop popcorn kernels in a brown paper sack in the microwave. So the version I have for yous can be made the microwave entirely. Woot.

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I’ve experiment quite a bit before to get the right amount of popcorn kernels and microwave time to suit my microwave and get the most popped kernels without burning them. Yes, many times my OCD attempts to be ‘efficient’ ends up costing me triple the time but now that I’ve got it right enough times, it is that much quicker, right?

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So I have found 1/4 a cup of kernels  in a brown paper sack does a splendid job.

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Then microwaved for 2 minutes works really well (listen for your kernels when you do yours, all microwaves differ if the time between popped kernels slows down to 2-3 between pops, get it out) Make sure you roll up your bag a bit like so. Make two-three bags depending on how rich you want your popcorn.  This is a trick I learned as I experimented: shake the bags of popped corn so the unpopped kernels settle to the bottom, you’ll see why. Leave them in their bags!

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Meanwhile dump 1 cup brown sugar, one stick of margarine (I used butter), 1/4 cup corn syrup, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in a bowl and stick it in the microwave for 3 min. Bring it out, stir and put it back in microwave for another 1.5 minutes. Pull it out and stir in 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, it will fizz up a bit.  I know, weird ingredient but I like to think it is the magic touch,  I think it gives it a slightly crisp crunch!

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Now, instead of dumping the popcorn straight from the bag into the bowl of melted goop, GRAB the popcorn fistfuls at a time from the bags  into your bowl. Since I had you shake the kernels to the bottom, you won’t get unpopped kernels in your popcorn!! Hurray.  Mix as you go. But don’t use a whisk like I did. I soon had to grab a spatula after I took this picture. Put back in microwave for another 1 minute and continue stirring until coated as desired. Let cool. Enjoy!

One time I resorted to this recipe when I needed some quick potluck item. I realized only after I had started the recipe that I didn’t even have brown sugar. I used white sugar, I also added nuts and raisins to try to offset all that sugar since the potluck was with peeps in my exercise classes. I already felt funny bringing caramel popcorn to a lunch potluck with people who all, of course, brought ‘healthy foods’, but the fact that I didn’t even know if all my modification even worked made me not want to announce my offering in anyway. Eventually the ladies found the culprit food and I don’t know if it was because there was nothing with as much sugar and butter in sight but those females devoured it like there was no tomorrow! They couldn’t stop commenting on how good it was.

So there you have it. White sugar works (favorite combo, half white, half brown sugar) and now it is common for me to add raisins/dried cranberries and nuts to at least half of the batch since, quite honestly I think is an awesome team of yum.

Here is the download:

[Download not found]

just-popping-by-gift-tag-popcorn microwave-caramel-popcorn

Easy Microwave Caramel Popcorn
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Sariah tate
Cook time:
Total time:
15 minutes to delicious popcorn! Adapted from http://allrecipes.com/recipe/microwave-caramel-popcorn/
Ingredients
  • 4 quarts popped popcorn
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup margarine (or butter)
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Instructions
  1. <b>To microwave popcorn in paper bag:</b>
  2. Put 1/4 cup of popcorn kernels in paper bag for 2 minutes (listen as kernels slow down, you might need longer or less time depending on your microwave)
  3. Pop 2-3 bags depending on how rich you want your popcorn
  4. Shake bags so unpopped kernels will settle to bottom
  5. <b>For Caramel</b>
  6. In a microwave safe bowl combine sugar, butter, corn syrup, salt and vanilla.
  7. Microwave for 3 minutes.
  8. Remove from microwave and stir.
  9. Return to Microwave for another 1.5 minutes.
  10. Remove from microwave and stir in baking soda.
  11. Grab popcorn from bags fistfuls at a time into bowl of caramel sauce, stir and with coat caramel. Stir in nuts and raisins/craisin if desired. Put back in microwave for another 1 minute and continue stirring until coated as desired. Let cool. Enjoy!

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