You are grandchild of the week, so we are praying especially for you. We pray that you are happy, healthy, safe, love learning, and love God. We pray that you are inspired to make good choices: obedient to parents, kind sister, loyal friend, keep the commandments, positive outlook, and good student. Your mother told us you like your new school and have made a good friend. That’s good news. Education is so important just as it is important to have one or two true friends. An old saying goes like this. if you want to know the true quality of a person, take a look at her friends. A true friend will help you become a better person, and likewise you will help her. True friends don’t spend time saying mean things about others either, but instead they play hard, include those weaker/younger/newer than themselves, and just have good, clean fun.
So, what things are you interested in these days. With a big move, sometimes our interests change. I’m still playing music, drawing some, reading a lot, and working on my garden. This week we got some gogi bushes. They are really interesting plants. Not only can you eat the berries but the young leaves are pretty tasty, too. Since gogis aren’t that sweet, we eat them on our morning muesli along with raisins. We are also planting a tree called moringa, which has nutritious and delicious leaves and seed pods. The pods are like very long green beans or asparagus. Both of these super foods grow like crazy in most places in the world and could be the answer to world hunger. Anyway, we’re planting these along with lots of fruit trees for a backyard food forest.
One thing we have to address before our garden can become a reality is the presence of cute but destructive cottontail rabbits and quail. We’ll have to at least keep the rabbits out of the yard. The coyotes that used to be around here seem to have moved on. Plus, the rabbit population is much smaller. BUT where there is one rabbit there are plenty more that you don’t see.
Every week I pick a conference talk to study. This week I studied Covenant Daughters of God by Jean A. Stevens from the General Women’s Meeting, which I hope you got to enjoy with your mother. It reminded me of your recent baptism and how special that day was for me. Of course, I know it was special for you, too. I liked how she said covenants, like baptism, let God know who we really are and open the gate on the path to eternal life. When I chose to be baptized at age 13, I was a pioneer. No, I didn’t walk across the country or ride in a covered wagon. However, as a convert, I was the first in our family to make the covenant of baptism. Later, I learned about some 3rd cousins church converts, but at 13 I was a pioneer just as any bonnet-wearing saint of 100 years earlier. My choice was the most important thing I had ever done in my young mind, and in all actuality, it was every bit as monumental as I believed.
As important as it is, baptism is only the beginning or the starting line. As President Bednar said, “As we stand in the waters of baptism, we look to the temple.” Sister Stevens gave us a lot to think about, when she said. “When daughters of God focus on the temple and on their sacred covenants, God is able to send blessings in personal and powerful ways… What can we do now to prepare for those blessings?”
If we don’t keep our promises or faithfully keep our covenants, it’s like sitting down on the starting line. Who would do that? But, you might be thinking, I can’t be perfect all the time. So true! We all sin and make mistakes. BUT!!!! Keeping covenants means we try NOT to make mistakes and REPENT when we mess up. It’s really not hard to understand. And guess what! That is also the way to make your home life a happy life. No, you aren’t responsible for the actions of others, BUT the way you choose to act affects others. If you are a big grouch or act naughty, it’s hard for your parents to be cheerful. If you are rude to your brother, it’s hard for him to feel happy. No, you can’t make your parents mad or your brother unhappy, BUT you can add to anger and unhappiness that they might not feel otherwise. Do you see how your choices can help your family be happy? The same is true for school, church, and in your community. When you smile easily, laugh cheerfully, and act kindly, the whole world smiles, laughs, and is kind with you. Can you see how a love of the Savior is reflected in the way you choose live your life?
So, dear Sammy, please, remember the promises you made at baptism to take the name of Jesus Christ upon you, always remember Him, keep His commandments, and serve Him to the end. It all seems so overwhelming until you realize the Holy Ghost will guide you, especially if you remember to pray for His help. The scriptures tell you exactly what to do, if you take the time to learn what is in them. The commandments are easy to follow if you remember that ALL of them lead you to do good--no, they will never lead you to hurt, anger, lie, steal, or any other bad thing. If you mess up, you can apologize and begin again. God loves us and made the whole thing very simple.