Wednesday, December 12, 2012
I have a family member who over the past 7 or so years, has become a totally different person. She looks, acts and is so different from the sister I knew in prior years. It has been an emotional roller coaster for my entire family, and her actions have dug deep holes into our once happy relationships. She has estranged herself from our family and though she won't admit it, avoids every possible encounter with us. Our mother is so troubled by the drastic changes in my sister both mentally and physically, that she has put up blinders and lives in an altered state of reality because it hurts her too much to believe who her daughter has become. As a result, Mother is always on the defence with all the rest of her children who try to get her back into the reality and acceptance of how life is now. Without going into any more detail, just know that our once close family isn't anymore, other than some siblings have maintained relationships with each other.
This situation has troubled me immensity for years. I too have been hurt just as much as my brothers and sisters and Mother, but I know that no matter what our sister has done, and who she has become, my Heavenly Father still loves her dearly and wants her back with him in his arms, one day.
Yesterday, I took the opportunity to extend an invitation to her to come back. I invited her to spend Christmas Eve with my own family and children, in hopes that she will feel wanted, loved, and stir some feeling that she has long since shoved behind her heart. I told her that I love her no matter the changes she has made, and that above anything in this life and the next, family is the very most important thing we have. I told her that though I don't embrace and support the changes she has made, that I still love her because she is and always has been my sister, and we all need to move on and get to a better place. We need each other and I basically extended to her the olive branch, that i believe that Christ would want me to do. I did this for Him, but mostly for myself.
I don't know if she will come and join in our family for the evening. If she doesn't choose to come, she will be missing one great time, filled with joy, and marvelous food, games, laughter, and the warmth of family. Free agency is alive and well, so I don't know whether or not she will choose to accept my olive branch, but I pray that she will. I pray that she will come home, and join back with our family and hopefully mend some broken hearts.
A couple nights ago, my neighborhood had the annual neighborhood Christmas Progressive dinner. We have had this for 5 years now and it is still looked forward to and has become a fun tradition in our neighborhood. This year, as in years past, I volunteered to host part of this dinner, and 50 people came through my door, and ate salad at my tables, and enjoyed great conversation, friendship and the warmth of my home. It was time for the group to go to the next house for Soup, so after they had all left, my husband and I and my Visiting Teacher and her husband, stayed and cleaned up. Before we had much cleaned up, there was a knock on our door, and standing on our porch was the familiar face of a woman who lives with her mother, just up the street. We welcomed her in and invited her to dish herself up a hearty plate from the salad bar that we had just hosted. She happily accepted, and all of us sat down and chatted with her as she enjoyed her meal.
She was delightful, friendly, and I know she felt comfortable coming to our home, even though she waited until the rest of the neighborhood crowds had left. She came at a time where she didn't have to face the rest of the neighborhood, and we chatted and enjoyed her visit for about 45 minutes. My Visiting Teacher and her husband, who happens to be our Home teacher, had never met this woman, and I believe because she keeps to herself. My guess is that most of our neighborhood has not met her either. She has, much like my sister, chosen a lifestyle that is outside the typical role of a woman. She is never seen with anyone but her dogs that she walks every day, and my guess is that she is lonely, however whenever I see her, she warmly welcomes conversation or waves.
After she left, my thoughts were on what a wonderful and good hearted person she is. I also realized that she finally reached out of her own comfort zone, and came to a dinner in our house, where she knew she would be welcome. My husband is the Bishop of our ward, and she knows from friendly in conversation in the past, that he is welcoming and non judgemental.
These two stories are very similar in that both women, have chosen paths that are unique to most women, but one thing for sure we have in common, is a loving father in heaven. I know that many times we imperfect people, will judge others, and that estranges them from us. They don't feel welcome, and sometimes others feel uncomfortable having them around but if we want to be more Christlike, we will remember that Jesus spent most of his ministry with the outcasts, the lepers, the sinners and those who most of the population shunned. Jesus didn't judge any of them, but loved them and blessed them, and encourage them to follow Him.
I pray that we as sisters of Christ, and daughters of our Heavenly father, will extend ourselves, and even go out of our own comfort zones, to be more kind, and considerate, provide service and give love, to all of those who need it..... The lonely, the infirm, the aged, the widows, the sick, and those who have gone astray.
A scripture come to mind and though it is specifically talking about missionary work, it can apply to the message that I share as well. I am going to alter it a bit but it still has the same meaning It is found in D&C 18: 15,16 "And if it be so that you should labor all your days crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my father....and if your joy will be great with one soul, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!" Going on to verse 19.." And if you have not faith, hope, and charity, you can do nothing". In verse21 is the last part of what I would like to share because it says this..."Take upon you the name of Christ, speak the truth in soberness."
Sisters in this Glorious Christmas season on joy, I pray that we can all think about those who really need us in their lives, even if we have never reached out to them in the past, it is time that we do it now. It is time that we invite them back, in genuine friendship and love. God loves them every bit as much as He loves you, so remembering that, imagine His gratitude when one day you are with Him again, and He brings to your remembrance your deeds. He will be so grateful for loving the lost souls, and will count you among those blessed children.
Remember this at Christmas, and remember this all year thought. May the Lord bless you in your efforts to serve Him and to be more like Jesus Christ, who is Christmas. Much Love, Katie G
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
It is such a wonderful message, I wanted to share it with you. It relates to all of us, as Visiting Teachers, and home teachers alike, along with everyone else who accepts calling in the church, to Shepherd over others or their children in different capacities. I hope you will enjoy the spirit of this message and feel the love of our "Good Shepherd".
I will probably be taking a break from posting for a couple months, as I am getting a complete knee replacement surgery after Christmas. I feel pretty certain that I won't be clear headed enough for a while to post, do any graphic design or much of anything besides sleep, and do the physical therapy that will get me back on my feet, so please don't give up on me, because I will be back. For now, here is a wonderful message for all of you!
The actual Visiting Teaching message from the church for December can be found here:http://www.lds.org/liahona/2012/12/visiting-teaching-a-work-of-salvation?lang=eng
When I read this message, I felt that the Christmas message that I am inserting went so well, with this message, I just had to share it with you. May the Lord bless you as you faithfully shepherd your sisters.
General Conference Talks
General Conference Reports
Proceedings of Recent General Conferences
What shall we give?
An Apostles Easter Thoughts on Christ
This short video is an Important message from the mouths of our Prophets!
July 6 - Pioneer Cooking
Click on this link to take you to the Pioneer Recipes:
I was also thinking that if you were to copy some of these recipes and print them off, that might be a fun handout for the Sisters you Visit Teach!
July 2nd - Diana Lucina Spicer Block
Visiting Teaching Tips, handouts and Ideas
For many years, I have been creating very cute and fun things to take to the ladies I Visit Teach. I have shared from time to time, my ideas with others and they have really appreciated them. I decided that since I do these anyway, I would start doing one every month and then post it on this blog to share with anyone for their Visiting Teaching. I do need to make a disclaimer.... the ideas, thoughts, stories, graphics etc. used are created by me and they are not in any way official LDS Church quotes, handouts or ideas. They are my creations or others as noted, except for the quotes that will come directly from the Monthly Visiting Teaching message found in the Ensign. Also, many thanks to the talented designers of the digital paper and elements that I use to create the beautiful artwork, and handouts you see on my blog.
You can go to http://www.lds.org/ and look up and even print the monthly message if you do not have your own Ensign magazine subscription in English or to choose to read the Liahona or Ensign in a different language go to http://lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=03103c7ff44f2010VgnVCM1000001f5e340aRCRD&locale=0.
For Spanish you can go to http://www.sud.org.es/
I highly recommend you get your own subscription because you will find a wealth of really good & wholesome, moral reading, that you can't find anywhere else. If you go to http://www.lds.org/ and click on "Gospel Library" then click on "Magazines" you can order your own Ensign, Liahona, New Era, or Friend magazines.
Posted by Katie Gauger at 10:41 AM 0 comments
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"Returning to the Past" A Relief Society Activity Idea
I just found your blog. It is so great. I love the idea of the Hearts of Angels. I am trying to figure out how we can use it for our VT conference and incorporate some of the things for our VT interviews. I am a new R/S president and all these things we have to do throughout the year are a little overwhelming. I love all of you ideas. So much work involved, thank you for being willing to share with all of us! I would love anything else you could pass my way.
WE had the thought earlier to use a theme of "Returning to the past" for our activities this year. So all of your old-fashioned pictures will be great to use as invites and handouts.
You might be interested in the idea we had for our B-Day dinner. We always have a progressive dinner in December to the homes of different sisters. We divide them up into about 5 smaller groups and go around to the different sisters homes in the ward. Because of the weather we cancelled it and had it at the church. We decided to do it for our B-Day dinner instead when the weather would be better. We are having the women bring a sack lunch with them and to wear something old, like a grandmothers broach or shawl, or to dress up in the time of the 1800's, and to bring a pint jar with a lid. We will have the sisters make lemonade at the first house and take with them in the jar that they brought, and then go to the next house. At the last house we will have and old fashioned cake to serve like apple walnut cake or something like that.
We still have some details to work out but at the end each member of the presidency will be at a different home and will share a prepared script. It will be written as if they were at the very first R/S meeting when the prophet Joseph Smith organized the R/S with just a handful of women.
Anyway, thank you for sharing what you have! You have a great talent!
Stacey McClellan - Blackfoot, Idaho
SELF RELIANT SISTERS BLOG HAS A GREAT ACTIVITY ABOUT GARDENING WITH KIDS - go to http://selfreliantsisters.blogspot.com/ It is well worth the time and a terriffic idea as Spring is just around the corner! Here is a tiny bit of information that you will see at the site.....
Gardening with Kids has great tips on getting kids started with gardening. Give your child some space; literally! Kids loving having spaces that are all their own, whether it`s their own desk area in the house, or the tent they've created with chairs and blankets in the family room. The same is true for gardening. Dedicate a small plot of the garden just for them. Put a fancy border around it, perhaps purchase one of the stepping stone making kits found at crafts stores in which they can mold their name and make their hand print.
Let them join you at the nursery. Let your kids know you value their opinion. Ask them which kinds of plants, flowers, and vegetables they like. Explain what will work well in your garden and what won't.
Give them (limited) choices. While you're at the nursery, ask them if they'd like pansies or petunias, marigolds or zinnias. This will give them the feeling of power without letting it get out of control.
Remind them money doesn't grow on trees. With older children discuss the budget. Let them help select seeds and blossoming plants at the nursery - and turn it into a math lesson. Let your child do the money calculations; they can tell you when the money runs out.
Let your child do what he will (especially if you have a preschooler). Let him dig, explore, play with bugs. You may be tempted to steer your child in another direction (like actually watering or weeding his garden), but this is a great way for your child to explore this exciting new universe.
Plan, plan, plan. If you have older children, say 8 or 9 or older, let them plot out their own garden on paper. Provide him or her with graph paper, pencils and seed catalogs. Give them a group of flowers and vegetables from which to choose, and then let them draw out their garden.
Get them their own gardening tools. Nothing will motivate your little gardener more than having her own little shovel, her own gardening gloves, and her own watering pail. And don't forget those bright colored rubber boots. You need to go to the site and explore all the rest of the links and ideas.