Thursday, December 29, 2011
Living the Abundant Life
President Thomas S. Monson
At the advent of a new year, I challenge Latter-day Saints everywhere to undertake a personal, diligent, significant quest for what I call the abundant life—a life filled with an abundance of success, goodness, and blessings. Just as we learned the ABCs in school, I offer my own ABCs to help us all gain the abundant life.
Have a Positive Attitude
A in my ABCs refers to attitude. William James, a pioneering American psychologist and philosopher, wrote, “The greatest revolution of our generation is the discovery that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.”
So much in life depends on our attitude. The way we choose to see things and respond to others makes all the difference. To do the best we can and then to choose to be happy about our circumstances, whatever they may be, can bring peace and contentment.
Charles Swindoll—author, educator, and Christian pastor—said: “Attitude, to me, is more important than … the past, … than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company, a church, a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.”
We can’t direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails. For maximum happiness, peace, and contentment, may we choose a positive attitude.
Believe in Yourself
B is for believe—in yourself, in those around you, and in eternal principles.
Be honest with yourself, with others, and with your Heavenly Father. One who was not honest with God until it was too late was Cardinal Wolsey who, according to Shakespeare, spent a long life in service to three sovereigns and enjoyed wealth and power. Finally, he was shorn of his power and possessions by an impatient king. Cardinal Wolsey cried:
Had I but served my God with half the zeal
I served my king, He would not in mine age
Have left me naked to mine enemies.
Thomas Fuller, an English churchman and historian who lived in the 17th century, penned this truth: “He does not believe that does not live according to his belief.”
Don’t limit yourself and don’t let others convince you that you are limited in what you can do. Believe in yourself and then live so as to reach your possibilities.
You can achieve what you believe you can. Trust and believe and have faith.
Face Challenges with Courage
C is for courage. Courage becomes a worthwhile and meaningful virtue when it is regarded not so much as a willingness to die manfully but as a determination to live decently.
Said the American essayist and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide on, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them.”
There will be times when you will be frightened and discouraged. You may feel that you are defeated. The odds of obtaining victory may appear overwhelming. At times you may feel like David trying to fight Goliath. But remember—David did win!
Courage is required to make an initial thrust toward one’s coveted goal, but even greater courage is called for when one stumbles and must make a second effort to achieve.
Have the determination to make the effort, the single-mindedness to work toward a worthy goal, and the courage not only to face the challenges that inevitably come but also to make a second effort, should such be required. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says, “I’ll try again tomorrow.”
May we remember these ABCs as we begin our journey into the new year, cultivating a positive attitude, a belief that we can achieve our goals and resolutions, and the courage to face whatever challenges may come our way. Then the abundant life will be ours.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Winter is here and the snow has fallen. Are you and your car ready for the hazards that come with driving in the snow? There are a few items that you should have in your car during the winter that will make life much easier if an accident should happen to you or to the people around you this winter. Your needs may be different for around town trips vs. longer distances or for the type of vehicle you have or the number of people in your family. Below are some suggestions to get you thinking, but you should add or remove those things that will help you and your family. Make sure that you not only have these items in your car, but that you know how to use each of them.
- Ice scraper
- Jumper cable
- Flashlight (that works)
- Tow rope
- Tire chains
- First-aid kit
- Hand/foot warmers
- Sand/cat litter for traction
Have you gotten your vehicle winter-ready?
- Has your antifreeze and other fluids been checked?
- Do you need snow tires? Are your tires at the right pressure for winter?
- Do you keep your gas tank at least half full at all times in case you get stuck?
- Is your phone fully charged before you leave home and do you have all of the emergency numbers that you need?
Have you reviewed the rules of driving specific to winter?
- Four-wheel drive does not mean four-wheel stop. Your four-wheel drive vehicle will not stop quickly in icy conditions.
- Know your route. Don't go exploring, especially when a storm is brewing.
- Slow down in low visibility or whiteout conditions.
- Never warm up a vehicle in an enclosed area, such as a garage.
- Do not use cruise control when driving on any slippery surface (wet, ice, sand).
- If you become snow-bound, stay with your vehicle. It provides temporary shelter and makes it easier for rescuers to locate you. Don't try to walk in a severe storm. It's easy to lose sight of your vehicle in blowing snow and become lost.
- Tie a brightly colored cloth to the antenna or place a cloth at the top of a rolled up window to signal distress. At night, keep the dome light on if possible. It only uses a small amount of electricity and will make it easier for rescuers to find you.
- Make sure the exhaust pipe isn't clogged with snow, ice or mud. A blocked exhaust could cause deadly carbon monoxide gas to leak into the passenger compartment with the engine running.
- If possible run the engine and heater just long enough to remove the chill and to conserve gasoline.
Sunday, December 11, 2011
One way our influence for good can be felt is through Visiting Teaching. As we visit, teach, and pray over our sisters we learn to love them and their families. We can be a source of help, comfort, and friendship to them. Their lives and our lives are blessed and enlarged because of the assignment to "be their visiting teacher".
This month especially, we need to check on each other. Do any of your sister's have special needs? Are there sidewalks to be shoveled? Sisters feeling lonely or overwhelmed? Special concerns that the Relief Society President would like to know about?
The visiting teaching message reminds us that "our efforts as individuals and as Relief Societies need not be large and overwhelming, but they should be deliberate and consistent".
Don't worry if you don't have that cute little something to share with your visiting teaching sisters. But do make the time to visit and share a message and your friendship.
Make Room for the Lord
Before we can take Jesus as our companion, before we can follow Him as our guide, we must find Him. You ask, "How can we find Jesus?" I would like to suggest that, first of all, we need to make room for Him...
As I drive through the many parts of this land, as I see the homes of America, I note that most homes have a room for Mary, a room for John--bedrooms, eating rooms, play rooms, sewing rooms-- but I ask the fundamental question, "Is there room for the Son of Almighty God, our Savior, and our Redeemer?"
The invitation of the Lord is directed to each of us: "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him" (Revelation 3:20).
...Make room for the Lord in your homes and in your hearts, and He will be a welcome companion. He will be by your side. He will teach you the way of truth".