Hope you are healthy, happy, and safe. What have you been doing lately? We're finally home again. Right in our backyard live the most beautiful birds, Gambel's Quail. Also, the sunsets here are beautiful and extremely colorful. Even as a little girl growing up here, I loved the sunsets. I lived on the edge of town. Across the street, cotton fields stretched out for miles, which gave me a great view of the sky. I used to lie on the sidewalk (strange but true) and watch the sun go mostly down. Because I had to be in before dark, I jumped up and rushed in just before the last colorful ray disappeared. What things in nature inspire you?
Did you watch General Conference? I love General Conference. Each April and October I am so ready to be lifted by the Spirit with some amazing words from God's prophet and servants. Maybe, when I was young, I thought of it as a church vacation. Now, I know how much I need the boost to my faith and courage to do my best. Then all through the following six months, I choose one talk to study each week. I love the Lord's conference that much.
I thought of you, when the Sunday School General President, Tad Callister, mentioned Ben Carson. Do you remember reading about Ben? Brother Callister used the example of Ben's mother to show how doing one's duty or magnifying one's calling can change the course of a life. But...and this is a big but...the person dutifully served must CHOOSE to accept the fruits of that service. Ben's mother may have required him to read and write. Nevertheless, after a time Ben choose challenging material and turned his mother's requirement into a love of learning.
That's the way it is with you and Jesus' atonement. You can get baptized and attend church like a good boy. However, unless you CHOOSE to develop your faith and enlarge your testimony, you don't get everything from these activities that you could or should. Many things have helped me along this beloved path of developing faith and enlarging testimony. Although they require a bit of effort and diligence, they aren't difficult.
Morning and night make a commitment to pray. Thank Him for your blessings. Tell your Heavenly Father your hopes, dreams, fears, and even little things, as well as the things you are sorry about and want to improve. Ask for help with these things. Even though He already knows what you need, Heavenly Father waits for you to ask. Pray for loved ones, friends, the prophet, missionaries, and those that may not be your favorite people, too. Study scripture EVERY single day without fail.
You don't have to read for hours and hours. To get into the habit, start by reading for ten minutes daily. If reading is difficult, read along with CDs or MP3, BUT do read. Find ways to serve others in your home without anyone knowing about it. Talk to Heavenly Father about this covert service in your prayers. In your daily actions, do your best to be obedient, kind, cheerful, patient, smart, charitable (1Cor 13), and loyal. As you work on these ideas, notice how they change you.
Brother Callister's mention of his father's memory cards also inspired me, because education is terribly important to me (and Heavenly Father). Memory cards capture lost moments for study. I've done this and know its power. Give it a try. Write math facts, scriptures, poetry, song lyrics, and school stuff on a few cards. Carry them in your pocket. Whenever you find a pause moment, such as sitting in a doctor office or riding in the car or a lull in the day's activities, pull out the cards and go through them. When you have mastered a bit of memory work, put the card in a box to look at once a week. Add new cards. Almost like magic, these things will begin to stick in your mind.
Well, C, please, choose Jesus' way. Your life will be so much more rewarding with that choice than with rebellion. Sometimes young people fall into Satan's trap, mistaking rebellion for independence.True freedom is found on God's path. Drugs, alcohol, tobacco, promiscuity, truancy, academic apathy, and crime often lead to poverty and defeat. Independence and liberty are best won through gospel living, healthy choices, and intellectual improvement.
If you can, send a letter, drawing, or school paper (or all three). We'd like to know what you are doing these days. Cards and letters are a good way to keep in touch with so much distance between us.
Love Ya Lots!