"Too often, we complicate the beauty and simplicity of the gospel of Jesus Christ with endless lists of meticulous expectations. However, when we focus on the “why” of the gospel, much of the confusion fades away."
After my post yesterday I got a few emails asking for additional downloads. I create a few simple things that might be helpful: invitations, banners, and 2 inch circle tags. However remember that just being together working on something together is the most important part, but perhaps this will help.
So you know I've been doing a little genealogy lately, in between the wedding and the regular day to day things with the children. A little here and a little there, lately that is the only way anything gets done. As I have been searching records I have been overwhelmed by the need to find the records about my ancestors. Records that show they existed. So many times I find a person in the system, but there is no source, no record attached to their information. I feel a little let down. I know that seems silly and I'm not sure why I'm driven to find something with their names on it. Something to show that they are not forgotten. That they lived lives, that they mattered.
These documents come as a result of volunteers, giving countless hours from scanning the documents to transcribing the information. There is so much that still needs to be done, only a fraction of the world's documents are available online.
This is how we can help. If you haven't already done something like this it's really interesting and easy to do. It's called "indexing" and anyone can do it, you don't have to be a member of my religion. Indexing helps everyone around the world and the anyone can get free access to these records and the familysearch data base to build their family trees. Having joined a few other genealogy sites, I appreciate all that I can find on familysearch for free. While reading a book by Susanna Kearsley (I adore her books), I was surprised to find a reference to the family history library and genealogical records. I will have to go back and figure out which book it was. Perhaps that is why I love her books so much, the history and genealogy in them, but back to the topic.... indexing.
Just in time for the Olympics familysearch is asking that you join the team.
"Soon, you can watch athletes break records, but you can also preserve a different kind of record for generations to come. During 72 hours from July 15 to 17, help us index the world’s historical records, making them freely searchable on the Internet and helping families worldwide find their ancestors.
Join us as we "rewrite" history."
For me, aside from my own family records, hearing Paul Madison talk about how indexed documents were fundamental in helping her find her family at RootsTech this past year was especially poignant. Even if I do one batch, one record all those names will not be forgotten. They will be remembered as I type them out. They will be remembered as they are found by their descendants. So will you join me. Will you make time in your busy lives to help someone else in this small way? Imagine what good we could do.
To help out, I have created a free planner sticker download. You can print out the pdf and cut them out by hand or use a silhouette cutter if you have one.
Remember to print on sticker paper or shipping labels (what I use).
My planner is about 8x10" so if the stickers are too large for your planner, just resize the files. Most of the art work is from the press release packet I was sent and then I altered and added to make the planner kit. (You can find out more information about my planner/journal system here.)
print off your planner stickers and decide when works best for you. Perhaps you can even host an indexing party : more information here.
From July 15-17, FamilySearch International will sponsor the third annual “Worldwide Indexing Event,” bringing 72,000 people from around the globe together online during a 72-hour event to save the world’s records by making them searchable to the public.
During the 72-hour indexing period, volunteers participate by downloading the FamilySearch software and completing as many names as they would like. Anyone with a computer and internet connection can join.
Volunteers have made over one billion historic records searchable online since FamilySearch introduced online indexing in 2008. The demand for indexed records continues to grow as millions of historical records worldwide are added every year.
FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. It is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at FamilySearch.org or through over 4,921 family history centers in 129 countries.
There are 4 more days until the wedding and I've decided if things are not done by now then they probably won't get done. Thankfully we kept things simple, but lovely. I am so excited for Whitney and Andrew, they are darling together. Off to go and get some cleaning done.
One of my favorite stores from the mortal life of Jesus Christ is that of Jesus, Mary, and Martha found in Luke 10:38-42. In five brief verses this story contains so many profound truths. As with other stories and teachings from the recorded life of Christ the insights are endless. Verse 39 reads as follows:
And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.
Mary is literally communing with God; she is completely focused on coming to know God. There is nothing more important than this, and within the life of Mary this is a rare time when her communion with God is visible, which leads to the question, what potentially happens to disrupt her communion in the innumerable other times when God is invisible but her communion with Him is just as real? This question may be generalized for so many for whom like Mary communing with and coming fully to know God is the center of their existence. As one example, when a neighbor who is often quiet and introspective is gardening is that what they are really or primarily doing? Or are they primarily listening, feeling, and understanding that which is discernable in the spiritual sphere surrounding them?
There is a general conflict between the man-formed world of graven images in all their forms whether they be man-imagined, man-formed ideas, commonly held assumptions, traditions, practices, schemes, objects, structures, systems, associations, lifestyles, etc. and God’s influence, which is beautifully illustrated in the ancient temple pattern that involves three spheres—the Court of Sacrifices, the Holy Place, and the Holy of Holies. These spheres in turn represent three general phases of existence—first the world or symbolically Egypt or Babylon, second the wilderness, a place of separation, journeying, and learning, and third the Promised Land, Zion, or Heaven where God lives.
This pattern appears continually. It appears in the life of Moses who spends forty years in Egypt, forty years in the wilderness, and forty years in continual direct association with God while the children of Israel are in the wilderness. It appears in the life of Christ who spends part of His childhood in Egypt, is in the wilderness for forty days after His baptism, and finally returns into His Father’s presence.
In this pattern as illustrated in the life of Christ the key purpose of the wilderness is to commune with God in comparison with which everything else is of little or no importance. This is so important for Christ that He does nothing else in these forty days, not even eating. He communes with His Father.
Returning to the story of Jesus, Mary, and Martha, it is not so much that Martha’s activity is sin in and of itself; she is working to host and feed others. The problem is that she does not see and value the communion between Mary and Christ that she too can enjoy if she leaves other priorities, activities, and concerns aside and sits at the feet of Jesus. Again, as with the gardening example, she can even continue to do the physical activity, working with her hands, and in reality be communing with God if she chooses.
There is nothing Satan desires more than to prevent us from leaving spiritual Egypt and communing with God in the wilderness in preparation to return into His presence, and he will use whatever means necessary to accomplish this purpose—direct but more often subtle, obvious but more often in the form of well meaning, albeit man-imagined, man-formed substitution for God.
As discussed a few months ago the word Egypt in Hebrew is the dual form of a word that can mean border, limit, besieged place, defense, enclosure, fortified, or strong. The root verb of this word can additionally mean to hold in and confine. In Egypt the children of Israel inhabit a house of bondage, in which they are in dual servitude both to the Egyptians and to their own sinful nature. Literally and symbolically they work under the Egyptians, in part as an oppressed people and in part as accomplices, to build the strong enclosure that holds them in and confines them in a temporal and spiritual prison. Symbolically, Egypt is truly a house of bondage of dual nature—temporal and spiritual, death and hell, Egyptian imposed and self-imposed. It is the prototypical worldly tabernacle or temple sphere represented by the Court of Sacrifices.
In the end the purpose in the ancient temple pattern is very simple, and it doesn’t matter what it is that prevents someone from communing with God and coming more and more to know Him, in effect holding them in and confining them. Even well-meaning activity, imposed by others or self-imposed, if it leads to being careful and troubled about many things(Luke 10:41) and thus prevents communion with God is making unto oneself graven images and worshipping them in place of God.
A major characteristic of graven images is that they are visible in one way or another—they are images. On the other hand, communion is not physically visible, not measureable, not controllable; it can’t be planned and scheduled; credit can’t be taken for it. It is the basis of true faith, the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.(Hebrews 11:1) It is truly keeping the First Great Commandment to love God, and it is the only basis for truly keeping the Second Great Commandment to love neighbor as oneself. Communion is like the wilderness in which life is not shiny, catchy, designed, formed, packaged, and, again, is not controllable. Life can be hard in the wilderness without the trappings of Egypt, but it can be quiet, peaceful, and full of meaning.
I will end with a few questions for another day: What happens when someone like Mary is surrounded by expectations and pressures from ten people instead of from one? Or from a hundred, and each of these surrounded by another hundred, each with their own form of expectations and pressures and efforts to control? And what happens when a portion of these expectations and pressures are more coercive or even cruel and violent? What are the inevitable cultural implications of this complex web? What are the cultural or societal inevitabilities of making unto ourselves and worshiping graven images?
"in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ." Acts 5:42
"A home is much more than a house built of lumber, brick, or stone. A home is made of love, sacrifice, and respect. We are responsible for the homes we build. We must build wisely, for eternity is not a short voyage. There will be calm and wind, sunlight and shadows, joy and sorrow. But if we really try, our home can be a bit of heaven here on earth. The thoughts we think, the deeds we do, the lives we live not only influence the success of our earthly journey, they also mark the way to our eternal goals." (President Thomas S. Monson, "Heavenly Homes, Forever Families, Ensign, June 2006)
At the beginning of the year I was really struggling with a situation with one of the children and I was really questioning my ability to parent. I was at a loss as to how I could help my child and I felt such sadness that I couldn't solve the problem. I was sitting on an airplane high in the clouds contemplating, yearning and searching for peace in the only place that always gives me answers: the scriptures.
How many times would this simple line profoundly effect my life?
I was reminding of this singular moment again this morning while talking to Whitney, for in addition to remembering this verse the Spirit powerfully asked, "Why would you take this trial away when it will be the means for great growth? Why would you remove this when it will shape the person they are to become?"
I stopped and looked out the window and snapped a quick picture so I could remember this moment.
Isn't it magnificent? I thought about all the different difficult moments moments of my life and how grateful I am for all that I learned and endured. In the middled I don't think I was a thankful, but each challenging thing helped me grow and stretch and become the person I am today and will be in the future. How could I deny this child or any of my children their growth for my ease and comfort?
"Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful ? how is it that ye have no faith" Mark 4:39 -40
The growth challenging situation has not resolved itself. It's been a year of deep searching struggles, but my perspective has greatly changed. I still forget at times, but God is always there to remind me:
"O Job: stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God." Job 37:14
I look at my child and the progress and growth made and I weep at the mercy of the Lord in our lives. He is at the helm of this ship and He is taking us to magnificent places. Just as I am not going to give up on my child the Lord is not able to give up on us. He is bound to us in a way I am perhaps just learning to understand.
"The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace." Exodus 14:14
After a trying weekend, having this one reminder has filled my soul with peace once again. I could have handled things differently, I could have been more patient but I am going to remember that along with my child, I am learning. We all make mistakes and that we need to learn to forgive ourselves, to see the value of who we are for God is there for me and you. I am reminded to be gentle not only with my children, but with myself as we learn together. I have come to understand and see my value as a daughter of God in a way that is difficult to describe in words, but fills my soul with peace and overwhelming love. I pray that my children, that everyone can feel this love. It's beautiful beyond description.
It seems to be a question I ask myself consistently, perhaps more lately. I look around and see growth in everyone and wonder if I am growing as well.
What do I want to be when I grow up?
What do I want to use my time for?
What do I want to my children to know?
What do I want to share here?
What do I want....
Among other things, like being a mother in the middle of May, I have spent the last three days taking an online course about blogging; building a brand, targeting and audience, legal aspects, etc. It's been fascinating and exhausting, informative and overwhelming all at the same time. Do I have a brand? What is my purpose for sharing? Do I really want to market myself in this way? I learned the business of pinning, who knew it was a business? I learned there were marketing strategies for Instagram, email lists, and selling through stories.
The power of stories bridges all areas of life.
A text from my mom, while being trained as a missionary, this past week said, "One of the presenters today said, "stories give you strength and perspective."
Stories bind not only generations, but people in all difference circumstances. As we tell our stories we connect and understand. We realize we are not alone.
Perhaps that is what I'm selling. Stories.
As I randomly write and thoughts flow, I consider that perhaps that is my niche: visual storyteller. From scrapbooking to social media, from books to sketches I am here to share, teach, and learn how to be a more effective storyteller.
I don't think I needed a huge course to remind me of this, but I have come to appreciate more the world of professional bloggers with services to pin hundreds of pins a day, interns and assistants, always learning how the newest algorithms will affect their numbers and income. It's big business with marketing and strategies and I have come to appreciate the new field of influence.
I certainly won't implement everything I learned, but I walked away with greater knowledge of what is available and what I can do. I will still ask "what do I want?" and the answer might be different from day to day. However, I hope to always share truth and light, especially on days when I feel like saying bad words to my children.