Thursday, May 31, 2012

Revelation + Action = Blessings

This last month I have been reminded of the power of personal revelation and the blessings I receive as I follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost. In preparing for my lesson this coming Sunday I found several articles in the June 2012 Ensign as well as various past Church magazines that teach us about the Holy Ghost. I found one article in particular that I encourage you to read before Relief Society: "Eight Ways God Can Speak to You" (click HERE) by Elder Dallin H. Oaks. This article is based on a devotional talk that Elder Oaks gave at BYU in 1981. To read the original talk, click HERE. 

I would like for us to focus not only on how we receive and "hear" the personal revelation, but what we do with it after we receive it. We are going to the temple as a Relief Society at the end of this month. Hopefully we will attend prayerfully and seek answers to prayers. If so, we will feel the Spirit in the House of the Lord, and then what? How will we apply it in our lives, to solve our problems, to comfort our worries, and to bring us to action?

Looking for more to read on this topic?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Part of an ETERNAL Circle

We have several sisters in our Relief Society who are moving and making temporal changes in their details (Rainey Martin, Quay Mercer, and Karen Tutor). This kind of change is always stressful and lots of support is needed.
We have several sisters in our Relief Society who will be going to the temple this week - for the first time (Cindy Johnson and Angelina Athian). They, too, will be making lots of changes. They, too, will need our support.
We are all part of each others' ETERNAL PATTERN. The beauty of this Gospel (whose crowning doctrine is held in the Temple) and this inspired women's organization is that the Lord has a "built-in" support for all changes. We have served with each other or been the Visiting Teacher or they have been our Visiting Teacher. We have taught their children or they have taught our children. There is a natural caring because we are interconnected through service in His church.
We are all part of an Eternal Circle! And I, for one, am so grateful for the possibility to get to serve with you for an ETERNITY.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

We Have the Stake Canner!

Cathy Meyer has procured the Stake Canner from Saturday, May 26 through Thursday, June 7.  Anyone interested in canning their own food may contact her for an appointment by phone or email sncmeyer7@sbcglobal.net.  She will have day and evening appointments available at her home.  Each sister will need, in addition to her own food, the canning supplies (i.e.: cans, lids, oxygen packets, boxes) which you can get at the Bishop's Storehouse on Tuesdays or Thursdays ONLY from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.  The order form can be found online at www.providentliving.org and gives the cost of each item.  If anyone needs help calculating how many supplies you will need, please contact her.

Also, if you want to go to the Bishop's Storehouse to can items that they supply, you may do this ONLY on WEDNESDAYS.  They have two shifts from 9:30 to 11:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  No appointment is necessary.  We cannot go as a large group anymore but feel free to take a friend with you .  Trainers are there to assist you.   

Friday, May 25, 2012


We are preparing for our Relief Society Temple Day on Tuesday June 26th - There are a number of ways to do genealogy and temple work, and certainly  those of us who prepare to go to the temple, find the experience is always sweeter, when we can take our own family "temple ready" names.  The stake genealogy library at the Bowser Bldg  is available with people waiting to help.  We just have to round up what information we already know about our family, and then take the time and  initiative to find out when the library is open, and then go and discover.

I am a fifth generation Latter-day Saint,and three of my four lines, came to America to join this great latter day movement in furthering the Gospel of  Jesus Christ throughout the world.

There have been some ambitious and faithful genealogists in my family, and a great deal of the temple work has already been done.  In 2006, I decided I wanted to take my very own family name to the temple.  I made  it my New Year's Resolution, I told my Heavenly Father that it was a great goal I had.  I made it a matter of daily prayer,  I called and talked with so many relatives  to see if anyone was working on some lines not showing up in Family Search, and then I began to work.  I went to  the library here, and spoke with several great genealogist in the area, to help me pinpoint my search.   I went to visit family in Salt Lake, and we took several trips to  the large library  the church maintains.  I talked with several great genealogy "detectives", who work full time there.  In the end, my lines were still stopping with various problems, where they had before I began.  In essence, I found that there was a " very good" reason, each  line stopped where it did. 

 One night,  nearly the end of July,   I was pouring out my heart to the Lord in prayer.  I felt frustrated, I had really tried, where should I go next, what should I do.  Later that night, as I was brushing my teeth. I had the distinct impression to "LOOK AROUND AND GO FORWARD'  I  thought about it, and dismissed it. because I didn't understand my prompting -  all my ancestors are backward not forward.

Three days later, my Dad called, and said "You know I have been worrying about Aunt Marion's  (his sister) work.  She was baptized, but never endowed or sealed, and she has been dead nearly two years." I immediately felt one of those little electrical shocks, that I have been pricked wth over my lifetime.  Exactly - I had never thought of anyone I knew, someone who was contemporarily here on the earth with me.  Not only was there my Aunt Marion, but my Uncles Bob and Paul, and three cousins (all younger than me) who have predeceased me without the gospel.  Actually, my Dad and I did 7 family names in all at the St. George Temple.  My Aunt Ruth died about 14 months ago, and my daughter  Rebecca is taking her name through the temple this month.

So when you are working on Temple names, look back of course, but also look around and look forward .   Also, remember to look and reach up to our Heavenly Father, who is waiting to help us do this work.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

"Oh, have we come all this way for that?"

In studying for our lesson on Sunday, "Waiting Upon the Lord" by Elder Hales, I came across a great BYU Devotional given by a former General Relief Society President, Elaine Jack. She rehearses a story from the journals of Ruth May who crossed the plains as a teenager in the 1850's. Ruth writes of the excitement and vigor of her testimony and journey from England to the Salt Lake Valley. They made many sacrifices along the way but nothing could dampen their desire to reach "Zion" and live with the Saints.
Yet, after all the hard work and tribulation to get there and when they crested the ridge to enter the Valley, Ruth looked down at the brown desert expanse and exclaimed "Oh, have we come all this way for that?"
How often do we feel this way? The lesson this Sunday is a great reminder that life is what we are doing while we learn and gain experience (and perspective AND patience!).

Monday, May 21, 2012

Waiting upon the Lord

This next Sunday we will be discussing Elder Robert D. Hales' talk, "Waiting Upon the Lord: Thy Will Be Done" (Click HERE to read this talk). Could you please read it and ponder times you have been required to wait on the Lord, and how those experiences have strengthened your faith?
Sister Stoddard

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Are you temporally fit?

Dear Sisters,

Summer is fast approaching, and we have some fun preparedness activities planned!  We hope you will join us for these upcoming events through the summer and fall.  With schedule changes in many of our lives, and weather changes as well, summer can be a wonderful time to focus on some of our temporal goals. 

1.  Physical Fitness--You can work on cross-training and exercising some of those muscles that don't get used much during other seasons of the year.  Or, start a regular exercise program if you are not currently keeping one.

2.  Mental Fitness--Take time to read great books.  Get some recommendations from a spiritually faithful and well-read friend and read "out of the best books." (D&C 88:118)

3.  Financial Fitness--If you don't have one already, build a savings of $1000 that can be used as an emergency fund.  Pay off all credit card debt so that you never pay interest on your credit card spending.  If you have all that under control, work on getting three to six months' worth of your expenses into savings. 

4.  Food Storage Fitness--(You're making awesome progress in this department!)  If you haven't already, start with three days' worth of emergency food and water supplies.  Next, procure two weeks' worth of water and food (that you normally eat, say, from the grocery store).  If you have accomplished that, then expand your resources to one month, then three months...six months...and on as best you can. 

You know all of this requires a sacrifice of time, effort and money, but it will be worthwhile, and that is a promise!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Extra Time

With our 3-hour block of meetings canceled this Sunday (due to the Multi-Stake Conference that starts at 10am), some of us might find ourselves with extra time on our hands this week. Maybe we don't have a lesson to prepare. Or maybe a presidency meeting was canceled. If you find yourself with extra time, how will you spend it? Reading the Scriptures? Going to the Temple? Visiting the sick and poor? Or watching TV, surfing the Internet, and taking a nap? I know I am sometimes guilty of wasting extra time. Yesterday I was thinking how great it would be for me to use this extra time Heavenly Father has given me to complete my visiting teaching this week. I want to say how much I love the Visiting Teaching program. I have had several experiences of women who have showed me how much they love me. It has given me the opportunity to make friends with sisters I might not have ever met. And I cherish the spiritual conversations I have with my visiting teachers and with the sisters I visit teach. I pray that we can all gain a testimony of visiting teaching. If you can remember a Sister who was a wonderful visiting teacher to you, then go out and do that for the women you teach. I testify that you will both be edified and come closer to the Lord as you fulfill your responsibility with sincere love and real friendship.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

I remember one summer day in San Diego, at the beach, with my seven children and much of my extended family. I could not find one of my sons and I was "aggravated" at his lack of obedience in staying near "the group". (Trust me, I knew no one had kidnapped him as he would not have even minded a stranger!) My older brother then said to me something I had not considered - "and to think you want to do this forever!"
I was thunderstruck. He was right. Because of my temple marriage to David, our children were sealed to us (in theory and truth!). And this earth life was really a training ground for what I would be doing for eternity.
I had previously looked at mothering as a process of getting them through toilet training, or teaching them to read, or weathering cub scouts etc. BUT, I have agreed, through covenants with the Lord, that I want to do this FOREVER.
The great part of this evolving truth is that I get A LOT more time to refine my mothering skills. Again, all women who have participated in temple covenants and remain worthy - will for an absolute fact - be Eternal Mothers too.
So it is not a patronizing statement to make to all endowed women who read this - either now or in the eternities -  HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Beautiful Hanging Baskets are an art form, and Yvonne Gausman is an artist.  Tonight she taught us how to build, plant, feed and enjoy Hanging Baskets - and she did it on a card table which sat on white carpet!
Yvonne's enthusiasm for plants and flowers was contagious, and her fun stories of trial and error in becoming an accomplished gardener were hilarious.  When she first started gardening, she had a desire to plant potatoes.  She called her mother to ask her exactly how you plant potatoes.  Her mother said,"cut out the eyes from the potatoes and plant them.  So, she cut out all the eyes, threw them away, and planted the potato.  Believe me, she has learned a thing or two since then.  My favorite part of her demonstration was how to get starts from other plants, watch the nursery sales carefully - which you can get in your e-mails if you join their garden clubs online, and create these beautiful baskets in a very economical way.  Yvonne also shops garage sales for hanging containers at a great price.  She gave us a very helpful website, where you can see demonstrations and products: www.sideplanting.com.

We had 13 sisters there tonight, two were neighbors of Yvonne.   Brother and Sister Gausman have a greenhouse, and Brother Gausman grows beautiful orchids.  They have a small pond with pond lilies, and other beautiful aquatic plants.  A beautiful garden truly feeds the soul - thanks to the Gausmans for sharing theirs.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Chapter 8: Temple Blessings

Sisters, it feels like we have been focusing so much on the temple in Relief Society lately. Well, this must be what Heavenly Father wants us to hear because our lesson next Sunday is about temple work too! We will be studying lesson #8 entitled "Temple Blessings for Ourselves and Our Ancestors" in the George Albert Smith manual. We will be discussing the Kirtland Temple and the significant events that took place there. We will also be discussing how the temple ordinances are so vital for our happiness and progression I am looking forward to another great discussion, so please come prepared to share some thoughts on the importance of the temple in your life. Angie Alford

Come "It's MAY" and Love It!

I love MAY. I have always loved May. Even when my seven children were all in school and I ran from event to event, I knew May meant summer was coming and the rigorous school schedule would soon be over and they would be "mine".
I always appreciated what I learned from the school year about each one of my children. I liked a teacher's perspective on a problem one of them was dealing with - even if I did not agree. I loved the finished feeling of Seminary being completed or Scout Camp/Girl's Camp on the horizon. Summer was a gauge for me as a mother.
I am older, I know, so it is easier to look back and smile as opposed to sitting in the middle of it all. But it was always a philosophy of mine that I live in the moment. I do not like to "dread" or rehearse the negative. The summers in Dallas ARE hot. Bored kids DO get into trouble. Parenting CAN be an assault on our self-esteem.
MAY is here - we cannot stop the calendar. So, I try to LOVE IT! Life is really attitude. It is one decision at a time. That is why months are broken down into days, hours, and minutes!
One GREAT decision for first full week of these May days, is to go to the temple this Friday (May 11th) as a Dallas 4th Ward Family. The Bishop has organized two sessions - 4 & 7PM. This should fit the needs of anyone's schedule. It will also give us the proper "eternal lens" by which to view all things that are important and immediate in our minds.
It is MAY, the temple will help us LOVE IT!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Stake RS Women's Conference Follow Up

Thank you to everyone who attended the Stake Relief Society Women's Conference last Saturday. There was a great turn out and some yummy food! Below is the recipe for the salad they served. Also, the Stake Relief Society Presidency has created The Happiness Project Workbook. It is a great resource for us that includes various ideas on how to find more happiness in our lives. To view the workbook, click HERE.

Oriental Chicken Salad
(per serving)
1 1/3 cup coleslaw mix
1/3 cup Romaine lettuce or spinach
1/3 cup chow mein noodles
¼ cup crushed dry ramen noodles (optional)
1/3 cup mandarin oranges
1 Tbl sliced almonds
Strips of grilled chicken

Dressing(enough to dress 2-3 salads)
3 Tbl honey
1 ½ Tbl apple cider or rice wine vinegar
4 tsp mayonnaise
1 Tbl Dijon mustard
1/8 tsp sesame seed oil