Sunday, April 30, 2017

Gold Nugget Wisdom from John and Michelle Schmidt's Fireside Tonight (of Piano Guys)

Here are my favorite gold nuggets from Jon Schmidt, the pianist in The Piano Guys and his wife, Michelle.

The Jon and Michelle Schmidt family. Jon and Michelle spoke at our stake fireside tonight and brought several of their teens with them. What a delightful family. 

Jon said he had no idea as a teenager that Heavenly Father wanted to be his Personal Assistant. 

Wouldn't it be amazing to have our city mayor as your personal assistant? Or the state governor? Or the president of the United States? The Governor of the universe wants to be your Personal Assistant! We live far beneath our privileges. It is our privilege to have Heavenly Father as our Personal Assistant.

In Alma 37 Heavenly Father said to cry unto God for all our support. What kind of support do you need? Jon mentioned teens may need support for things like football, dance, a test, or even a friend texting difficulty.

Michelle shared that as she was first reporting to the police station that their young adult daughter was missing, the officer was questioning if she was on drugs, if she had fought with the parents, and so on. Then over the phone, Jon suggested Michelle ask the officer to pray with her. That seemed awkward but he agreed. She prayed that the officer would be able to help them find their daughter and it softened his heart, and changed the energy of their whole conversation and how helpful he was to them. Crying unto God for all our support really makes a difference! 

Write a prayer list. 

Jon shared a story packed with miracles about the filming of the music video below, a mix of Amazing Grace and Fight Song. Jon said he could go on for hours about miracles that have happened from Piano Guys' prayer lists. 

Their prayer list for filming this music video included three things they had no idea how to find in almost no time on a tight schedule in Scotland: 
    • A forest with the trees just the right distance apart to let the sun shine through just right
    • A cool Scottish pipe band
    • A location with spectacular scenery (besides the one castle scene they already had)
They had two days to film: Monday and Tuesday. By Saturday night they hadn't found any of their three prayer list items, so they were tempted to only attend sacrament meeting the next day, and skip the rest of church, so they could keep looking for locations. It felt like an emergency. Yet the Spirit told them to attend all three church meetings and God would take care of their prayer list. 

A woman they met at church said she had connections with a great pipe band and could have them at the scene the next morning. The piano mover knew of a forest just like they needed. and the most spectacular scenic location in Scotland. 

If we are willing to show up for God, He will show up for us. 

Although it's understandable that The Piano Guys were tempted to miss some of church to keep looking, they realized that if they were asking God to show up for them, they needed to show up for God. They obeyed what He had asked, and the miracles flowed. 

Oh yeah, the weather was another miracle. The first day had patches of time where the rain stopped so they could film, and the second day was a gorgeous sunny day. The locals said that was amazing, because usually in October it usually rains sideways. 

God is a God of miracles, that's for sure. 

Click to watch the music video Jon shared these miracles about. Watching it after hearing the miracle stories made it come to life so much more. Now it's my favorite song of theirs! 

Click here for Jon's "I'm a Mormon" video.

Click here for ways to make your prayers more powerful. 

Click here and here for more posts to boost your faith that God can work miracles for you. 

Your mess turning into beauty, your past is not your present

Yesterday I cried after my last session with a several-month personal mentoring client.
I cried because I love and adore every client and feel sad when it is time to move on. Cried for gratitude at how much I LOVE being a mentor and the opportunity to help someone on her path of transformation and see how far she has come.
And this picture came to mind.
This is a form of art called "kintsugi,"which is repairing broken ceramic with gold. One of my favorite concepts I've learned as a mentor is to honor the struggle, that our mess can become our message. That it is absolutely part of God's plan for us to have messes in our lives, failures, mistakes, and weaknesses. And yet with Christ's Atonement, we can become more beautiful than we were before. When I think of some of the hardest trials in my life, they have been a big part of what shaped me and my life mission and how I can now help others.
Honor your struggles, and turn to the Master Kintsugi Artist, who can make beauty out of any mess.

If you're fascinated like I am by this concept of repairing broken ceramic with gold, Click here for the website these pics came from and you can see more pics of this amazing art form.
Here is another powerful concept I taught yesterday to a different group.

How cool is it to know that your past does NOT have to equal your present or your future?? We can upgrade any area of our life at any moment, and it's up to us to choose that higher path, rather than the old negative defaults of the past. Christ is more powerful than our past, and when we plug into Christ's power, we can upgrade to a new normal.

Something that helps us step up to a higher path is to say something like, this, "I forgive myself for not being perfect. I did the best I could with what I knew and what I had. When I know better I can do better. And I'm always excited for upgrades!" 
What upgrade are you excited for in your life? How are you going to be better and more beautiful than before?

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sheri Dew on LDS Women and Priesthood, and How to Deal with Unanswered Questions

Today in a lesson about God's priesthood power I showed the first video below. 

As a teen I struggled with wondering why men are ordained to the priesthood and not women. Not any more.

Here are five resources I recommend to boost your testimony that God loves all His sons AND daughters, and ways to deal with unanswered gospel questions without losing your testimony.

1. In this 8-minute video clip, Sheri Dew shares a handful of truths about God's power, men and women, and how to live by faith even if you don't know all the answers. My appreciation grew even more for being a woman in this church and having access to God's power and revelation. Excellent. I wish the transcript were available -- so many quotables!

2. Click here for my thoughts about LDS women and the priesthood. 

This post includes my favorite object lesson that shows how having questions is fine, but how how we handle our unanswered gospel questions determines which direction our faith will go. 

3. Click here about how to deal with unanswered questions like why all races haven't always held the priesthood. 

This post includes a video from Elder and Sister Bednar about how to deal with doubts. Also a video of Ahmad Corbitt explaining how the LDS Church is one of the most racially unifying organizations in the history of the world.  

4. Click here to watch a beautiful talk about women and the priesthood by David Clare from BYU Women's Conference 2014. 

He explains how faith, power, and priesthood are interconnected, and apply to both men and women. 

5. Below is a presentation by Sheri Dew gave at Ponoma College about women in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Who wants to study my 12 favorite talks in 12 weeks?

I am giddy with excitement! 

These 12 talks are from various places like conference, worldwide devotionals, and BYU devotionals. These 12 favorite powerhouse talks boost our faith that with God we can do impossible things. They emphasize the supreme importance of putting God and family first. They help us be excited about living in the last days, where we get to live our life missions to help the world get ready for the Second Coming! As a blogger, former LDS seminary and institute teacher and now a life coach, I'm all about helping people overcome obstacles and access God's power to reach their goals and live their life missions, and I've gathered some powerhouse talks over the years that are begging to be shared and change some lives!

Click here to join the Facebook group where you'll get a power packed talk each week for the next 12 weeks. 

Here is how it works for the next twelve weeks.

1. On Mondays I'll post this week's talk. I'll give a printable version that you can mark up with numbered paragraphs so you can easily reference them like, "Paragraph 16 was my favorite because..." I'll also include a link to watch the talk.

2. All week long until the following Monday please feel free to post your favorite takeaways from the talk. Ideas of ways to post:

  • Type a post with your favorite takeaways from the talk. 
  • Post a picture of your favorite paragraphs all marked up and notes in the margins.
  • Post a video of you sharing how much the talk meant to you and what you plan to do about it. 
  • Find or create a quote meme of a favorite quote from the talk.
  • Post a goal you set from something you learned in the talk. 
  • Share other scripture stories or talks or quotes that the talk reminded you of. Making connections like that is awesome! 
  • If you use the talk in an FHE lesson, please post your ideas and how your family responded.
  • Comment on others' posts.
  • If you're a blogger, you can blog about the talk and post your blog post here. 
  • No obligation to post in the Facebook group, just if you desire.

3. On the following Monday I'll do a Facebook Live video sharing my favorite takeaways, and announcing the next talk.

4. Some have expressed interest in a live study group. If you'd like to do that, feel free to post your desire here and others can join your group. With several hundred people, it's too big for me to facilitate a live study group online or on a conference call, but you're more than welcome to form your own smaller weekly study groups!

5. Please use this opportunity to spread goodness using the internet, as Elder Bednar and Elder Ballard have counseled. Feel free to share this group on your own Facebook page and invite others to join. Also each week I invite you to post your favorite takeaways from that talk on your own Facebook page. Just think, with hundreds (or thousands) of people studying and sharing powerhouse truth and light online, what good that will do!

Click here to join the Facebook group! 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Four of Satan's Tactics and How to Fight Back

If you want to win the war, you've got to know your enemy's tactics. 

Because his wicked enemy kept upgrading his war tactics, Captain Moroni kept upgrading his defenses. He sent spies out regularly to see what the enemy was doing. We can learn a lot from Captain Moroni.

Although I used to feel bored reading the war chapters (see around Alma 43-60) now that I see them as a symbol of our war today between Satan and God, I get excited to read those chapters! I even used two colored pens to mark the tactics of both sides of the war.

These are some of the markings in the war chapters of Alma. 

Here are three examples from the scriptures of God's light overcoming Satan's darkness.
1. Satan tried to stop Joseph Smith right before he was about to do something great for God's kingdom. It wasn't until Joseph called upon God that Satan left (See Joseph Smith History 1:15).
2. Moses was visited by Jehovah and then by Satan, and kept telling Satan to go away, but he wouldn't leave. It wasn't until Moses used the name of the Only Begotten that Satan finally left (See Moses chapter 1).
3. In this month's Ensign, Elder Larry Lawrence shares how in the New Testament Christ cast out Satan and then quoted scripture.
In all three instances, God's light pushed away darkness.

Elder Lawrence shares four of Satan's tactics and how we can fight back:
  1. Temptation
  2. Lies and deception
  3. Contention
  4. Discouragement
I like this quote about the power of casting out Satan with the word of God.

"You have the right to tell Satan to leave when you are confronted with temptation. ... Scriptural verses can become an arsenal of spiritual ammunition. When you are tempted, you can recite commandments. ... Scripture power not only intimidates Satan, but it also brings the Spirit into your hear, reassures you, and fortifies you against temptation."

Click here to read Elder Lawrence's full article in this month's Ensign.

Click here for a post about seven ways to overcome evil influences from Moses chapter 1.
Click here for a post about resisting the fiery darts of negative thoughts.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

My new way of studying scriptures for a huge boost of faith!

I've taught and blogged many methods to "scuba dive" in the scriptures, but this is a brand new method that I've just been inspired to use. 

And it's so fun! 

If you'd like a boost to your faith, courage, and strength to do things that seem hard or even impossible, use this method. You're gonna love it!

Click here for another post about boosting your faith that God can make impossible things possible. 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Four Ways to Get More from General Conference Afterward!

Listening to conference is good. Feeling the Spirit bear witness that what you learned is true is even better. And doing something to act on what you learned is best.

Elder Hales said: "The greatest blessings of general conference come to us after the conference is over. Remember the pattern recorded frequently in scripture: we gather to hear the words of the Lord, and we return to our homes to live them" ("General Conference: Strengthening Faith and Testimony," Ensign, Nov. 2013). 

President Monson said, 
"The aim is to inspire the individual to THINK about, FEEL about, and then DO something about living gospel principles" ("Thou Art a Teacher Come From God," Conference Report, Oct. 1970).

Here are four ideas that can help you with the DO part after General Conference. 

1. Make a commitment to study the talks for the next six months.

Click here for the printable checkoff chart above that's just the right size for a bookmark or vision board goal. (Note: When I created the chart the only topics listed were from the women's meeting. If you check back in a few days I may have an updated version with topics by all the talks.)

There is power and protection in studying words of the living prophets and apostles, especially the most current words. My friend's motto is "A Conference talk a day!" It's easier than EVER to make General Conference part of our daily lives! The talks are already online to watch, listen, print, or download!  

We can listen while driving, exercising, cooking, cleaning, getting ready in the morning, or read online or on various phone apps. We can even read the actual paper Ensign when it comes in the mail, or purchase one from Deseret Book. Also, feel free to use this printable notes chart to help you gather your thoughts and favorite parts of each talk as you study them over the next six months. 

2. Set simple goals as a family of what you'll DO from what you learned. 

We like to have a follow-up family discussion after conference where we brainstorm what each person's take-aways were, and what they feel the Lord wants them to DO from what they learned. We did this Sunday night at the dinner table. You could also do it during family home evening. 

I like to start this process by reviewing my own notes with a highlighter, and jotting a list of possible goals for me and my family on a separate page. Then during our FHE discussion on this, I use my notes to jog our kids' memories and helps them start saying things they liked about certain talks. 

As people throw out ideas of what they may want to DO from what they learned, I write this brainstorm list on my journal, along with an initial next to each idea to note who said what. A dry erase board would be a great tool for this too. I add my own ideas from my summary chart that I want to act on soon. Then I read the list aloud, seeing if anyone wants to add more ideas, and invite each person to choose one or two goals they feel to work on the most. I highlight those. (It would be good to make some kind of reminder for each person's bedroom...we'll work on that.)  

This simple tool helps us follow up with the "do" part by reviewing, setting goals, and having each person choose one or two main things to focus on. I never can stick to only one or two. Maybe I would keep my goals better each time if I did! 

3. Have family home evening lessons from General Conference talks for the next six months. 

We don't use these every week, just some weeks. We like to buy a conference Ensign for each family member so we can use them during FHE lessons about conference talks, encouraging people to read and mark up their own copies. The printable summary above would be a great way to help family members choose which talk they want to study and teach when it's their turn to teach. 

If your kids are older (maybe ten and older) here is an easy way to teach FHE from a conference talk. 

  1. Have everyone bring their copy of the conference Ensign and a highlighter, or their mobile device. Encourage everyone to mark what stands out to them. 
  2. Have family members take turns reading several paragraphs at a time. After each person's turn, have them give a summary of what they read (makes them THINK about), and if they can, find a principle (truth)  we can use in life. 
  3. Once the whole talk is read, ask people to share their take-aways. What stood out? What do they think God wants them to DO with what they learned?  Invite the family to set a goal for that week/month, or individuals to set their own goals. Write them down on something to post where people can see it. 
  4. A great way to end each lesson is to encourage family members to bear their testimony of what they know about the topic. Bearing testimony invites the Spirit to testify to everyone that what they said is true. That's the FEEL part of President Monson's counsel above. 

4. Each family member can choose favorite quote memes from conference. 

These memes will be all over social media for the next while. You can already find some here and here. Let each family member choose one or more of their favorite quotes, and print them to place them wherever people choose in the home. Dollar store frames are great for this. This makes a great visiting teaching gift each month, using a dollar store frame where the pictures are easily removed and replaced each month. 

What works for you to follow up and act on what you learned at General Conference?