Sunday, December 23, 2012

The only way to be completely happy is to Live the Gospel

This weekend for Christmas my husband and I have been at my sister's house.  This morning I was wandering around the house while everyone was at church (Yes, I missed church because I slept in and was lazy. My own fault.) and I found a notebook that my sister used while she lived in Wisconsin and was teaching the youth in her church.  She would write her Sunday school lessons in this notebook for reference while she taught her class.  Me being a snoop, I opened the notebook and started reading.  She had a lot of really great quotes, but a little notecard fell out of the notebook and caught my eye.  This is what it said:
"The only way to be completely happy is to live the Gospel of Christ. It isn't possible to sin enough, to entertain enough, to buy enough, or to indulge enough to be happy. You must live the gospel of Christ."
As I read this I started thinking about my life, and the times in my life that I have been "Truly Happy."  The quote held true for me.  

Throughout my life I have lived away from the church, and I have been a fully active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  I have walked the fine line of sin and righteousness to see if you can really walk the line, and the fact is that you can't.  The truth of the matter is that you are either fully converted to the church; living it's gospels, or you're not.  A few years ago I had to make the distinct choice in my life to either live the Gospel fully, or not to.  This decision came when deciding to marry my husband.  I know I have stated this before, but when I chose to marry Dave I was not active. He let me know that he would not be married anywhere but in the temple of God, and he gave me the option of choosing to be with him, or continuing the life of "sin" that I was living.  (When I say sin I just mean that I wasn't living the principles and teachings of the church.)  When I finally made the decision that I was going to embark on this journey of being a "Mormon" I was terrified.  I had not lived the teachings of the Gospel since I was a little girl and frankly I was scared to change my life.  I made the leap though, took the appropriate steps, repented of the things I needed to repent of, stop doing the things that I needed to stop, and became a fully active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

That decision changed my life in the most dramatic way possible, which brings me back to the original quote my sister wrote down.  I experienced true joy, and pure happiness for the first time in my life by choosing to live the Gospel.  Not only did I find out who I truly was, and was always meant to be, but my life was good and I was truly happy.  I still had struggles, I still had problems that everyone has, but I was able to conquer them through the help of my Father in Heaven.  Even though I had trials and hard times (which I still do) I was truly happy.  It was amazing that I could go through some of the hardest times of my life and still be eternally happy and grateful for my life.  I know that this was only the case because I was living the Gospel principles.

"Happiness and joy only come when we are living up to who we are meant to be." -unknown

I'm so grateful that 5 years ago I made the decision to truly join the church and change my life around.  It has made all the difference.  I never knew what true happiness was until the church came into my life.  Now I feel as though I know what everyone is talking about when they say "I can get through anything as long as I have God on my side."

I hope you all have a wonderful Sunday and a beautiful Christmas.  May your days be merry and bright!!  Merry Christmas and have a very happy new year!

(The Mormon Housewife)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Jilly Bean Jewelry and the Utah Food Bank

 I have been blessed with the talent of creating jewelry.  It has provided for my family while my husband has been a full time student pursuing a medical career.  I'm very grateful that God blessed me with this talent.  I also have the ability to talk and touch other people.  Recently I volunteered a day at the Utah Food Bank and was blessed to get to know a person in need there.  They have a family and 3 of their family member are small children.  

When my husband and I were 1st married we couldn't afford groceries a couple of times, and we were blessed by my parents coming to our rescue and purchasing groceries for us.  I can't imagine having 3 little tiny children and having to try to explain to them that I don't have money to buy them food to eat when their little tummy's are so hungry.  It was a very trying, yet touching day in my life.

For the month of December and January I will donate 10% of every sale through Jilly Bean Jewelry to the Utah Food Bank to help Utah families in need of food.  This is the least I can do.  God has been there for me and provided for me when I have been in need, and then he gave me a way to support my family so I could put food on my table.  I just want to give back and let my Father in Heaven know how thankful I am for my talent that he has given to me and for the graciousness of strangers who support my small business; because it all reality they are supporting my family during some of our most difficult times.

During this time of year, if you are able please donate to your local Food Bank.  No child should go hungry, and no parent should have to tell their child that they can't eat tonight.  Give back a little of what we are given so much.  Even if all  you can afford is a couple of cans of food, ANYTHING is better than nothing.  

If you would like to look through my jewelry and support this cause please click here.  I sell all my products through Facebook and use paypal for purchasing.  You simply get on my Facebook and find something you life, tell me, and I'll send you an invoice and I ship EVERYTHING for free.  Thank you, and have a very Merry Christmas!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Elections and being a Mormon

 As I went to the polls this past week to cast my vote for president of this great country that I live in, I was struck by how many people said such horrible things about my religion due to the fact that Mitt Romney is a Mormon.  In my head the 2 should never come up.  I feel as though religion and politics should be completely different and not related at all.  That being said, I feel like being spiritual is at the very core of what this country was built on, but a man's religion should not determine if he will make a good president.

I was raised in a home with a father who is a democrat, and a mother who is a republican.  My parents taught me as I grew up that when I became of age to vote, that I should vote for the PERSON, not the PARTY.  When I turned the legal age to vote in this country, I registered as a democrat.  I still consider myself a democrat 10 years later, but that doesn't determine whom I vote for.  I vote for the person that I believe will be the best person to run this country.

These past few weeks as I have watched the debates, as many of you have, I have been more in favor of President Obama.  I have gotten a lot of grief here in Utah because "How in the world would you not vote for Mitt Romney?  He's a Mormon."  It actually blows my mind that someone would say this to me.  I have never believed that religion is a part of politics, so why now would I ever vote for a religion over a man?  The Mormon church is not going to be running the country if Mitt Romney wins, Mitt Romney will be running our country, and I don't believe he is better for the job than Pres. Obama.  I don't understand how people can question my opinion here in Utah.

I grew up knowing that I was raised in a very Republican state. I know that the majority of my state is right winged, and I also realize that my democratic vote will not really matter in this state because of how they control the polling throughout this country.  The majority wins, and in Utah; the majority is ALWAYS republican.  So even though people know that, I have been blown away that would still give me grief.

I believe that God was the one behind setting up this amazing country of ours.  I believe that our rights as American citizens, gives us the right to chose who we believe would be best for this country.  Who would be best for us, as an individual.  Mitt Romney is not the best for ME, in MY opinion.  You are more than welcome to disagree with me, but you will not see me slam down your opinion or call you crazy for voting for a republican.  I believe we all were given equal rights for a reason, and I choose to vote for the person that I believe in the most, not the party, and definitely NOT the religion.

I am a part of a group here in Utah called the "LDS (Latter Day Saints) Democrats".  It is a group of "Mormons" that are democrats.  I have learned to love these people, and I know they are good people.  They are Mormon, they are democrat, and they are voting for President Obama; and they are equally loved by their Father in Heaven, just as much as any republican is.

As you come to vote this election day, please don't vote for the party or the religion.  If you believe Mitt Romney is the best for job as President of the United States, then please VOTE FOR HIM.  But if you are voting for him due to the fact that he is Mormon, you need to look at your values and morals, and know that just because he's Mormon doesn't mean he's the best.  The same goes for President Obama.  Just because he has been the President for 4 years, doesn't mean he's the best option.  You need to vote for the man who will do the best job for YOU as an individual, and not because he's a "Mormon" or is "Black".  You need to vote for the best leader of the free world that we are privileged enough to live in.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Never leave your Religion at the door

I had a neat opportunity since moving to Salt Lake, and specifically this last Sunday.  I reside in the Salt Lake City 1st ward.  This ward was created by Brigham Young in 1849.  It was the 1st ward ever.  I also live in the house that Gordon B. Hinkley was raised in.  The amazing thing about all this, is yesterday for the 1st time the 1st presidency of our church made a decision to adjust the wards in the Sugarhouse branch.  In 1930 this branch had over 15,000 members of the church.  Today we have a little over 3800 members.  For ever 12 people that live in the boundaries of our ward there is 1 member of the church.  My ward that I have been going to is one of the smallest wards I have ever been in, and I live in Utah; you know, Mormonville.  :)  

Yesterday at the meeting I sat by a woman who grew up with Gordon B. Hinkley. She told me about him as a child, and how even as the President of the church he would come back to that ward and share his testimony.  He would go and visit the elderly women that he knew, and of course his wife who grew up across the street was always there as well.  It was amazing to hear these stories.

As I sat in that meeting and learned that my branch of 7 wards was going to be cut down to 4 wards to make bigger wards, I was floored.  Now instead of 1 in 12 it will be 1 in 6.  I was touched by the things these men said, by the tenderness they had while sharing this news to women and men who have lived in this area since the 30's and 40's.  It was amazing to me that President Monson himself wrote a personal letter to this stake letting them know that this change was his decision and that is was the will of the Lord.  

I watched the ladies cry, and hug each other, and then I listened as so many of them stood and shared their testimony with me.  The lives that these women have lived blew my mind.  They were here when the church was brand new and just being formed, and they have stayed righteous Latter Day Saint Christians their entire lives.  

I was touched by the spirit of that meeting.  I was touched by the love this branch had for one another, and I was touched by the love the bishops, and stake president had for their congregations.

Through this experience I learned an amazing thing.  I am the minority where I live now.  For the 1st time in my life I am on the outside looking in, and it's vital that I live my religion every day.  These women taught me yesterday, that you need to live your religion 100% of the time no matter where you are.  I'm grateful for their love, their amazing examples, and for the opportunity I had to listen to these amazing women of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Becoming a Fully Converted Mormon

 From the time I was 14 until I was 23 I was inactive.  I remember so clearly when I stopped going to church.  My Dad had just become the Bishop of my family ward in Utah, my grandmother who meant everything in this world to me, had just passed away, I was dealing with hateful feelings toward my Father in Heaven, and I had a Young Women's President who told me that "It was girls like me that made the church look bad." 

I felt completely defeated and drained, and I couldn't imagine going to a church where I didn't feel like they wanted me, like I was accepted, or where I wasn't loved.  Growing up as a Mormon in Utah is very different than many other places.  In Utah you deal with a lot of Latter Day Saints (another way of saying Mormons) that are judgmental, know it all's, and have a "Holier than thou" type of attitude.  It was a difficult way to grow up.

After stopping going to church I'm so thankful that I had the parents that I had.  I had a Dad that wasn't raised as a Latter Day Saint, so he was always so unconditionally loving.  I remember every Sunday he would come into my room and ask me if I wanted to go to church with the family, every week for years and years I would decline.  In fact on Sunday mornings I would wake up and I would head over to our local Starbucks, get a coffee, and sit there and read until church was over.  I would then go home and spend time with my family who continued to love me unconditionally.  I was the only member of my family who ever left the church for a time, and yet my family never treated me any differently.

After growing up and "Living Life" as I call it, or doing things that not every normal Latter Day Saint does, at the age of 22 and going through the reality of what life is really like and what people are really like out there, I started researching religions.  I knew that for me I needed spiritual guidance in my life.  I wasn't sure what church would give me what I needed and so that is what I was in search for.  Since I felt so smart, and already knew what the Mormon's had to offer, I looked at many other religions.  By the end of the year I came to the realization that the church that worked the best with my morals and my standards as an individual, was the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  I made a promise that I would for the 1st time, read the Book of Mormon completely, and ask if it was true.  I did that, and I found out, for me; that the book was true.  At age 23 I walked into my 1st Latter Day Saint Singles Ward, in which my father was my Bishop.  He was my Bishop when I left, and he was my Bishop when I came back.  He welcomed me back with open arms.

It took me awhile to get back to being a full member of the church.  I had to take care of somethings that I had done in my past.  I had to make things right with God.  In my process of doing this, I met a man who I thought was amazing.  He and I started dating, and started going to my Dad's single's ward together (a singles ward is a ward or branch in which 18-30 year old single men and women attend). 

After dating for a little over a year, this man and I decided that we wanted to be married.  He was very kind to me and told me how much he loved me, but let me know that he wouldn't get married anywhere but the Temple of God.  Being raised in the Church of Jesus Christ if Latter Day Saint's, I knew what a huge decision this was. He told me that I could take as much time as I needed to decide if this was the right decision for me.  I went to my Heavenly Father who I was just gaining a real relationship with, and got down on my knees and asked him if this was the right decision for me.  I was instantly filled with such a feeling of love and peace, and knew that this was the right decision.  3 months later Dave and I were married in the Mt. Timpanogos Temple, for time and all eternity.  We were going to be together forever, even after this life.  I never realized how important that would be until I got deathly ill 1 month into our marriage, but that story is for a different time.  If you want to know more about that, you can check out my other blog. 

I will never forget walking out of the temple with my new husband that spring day. It was then that I knew I was truly a member of the church.  Not only was I member, but I knew that my decision was the right one for me.  I knew this church was the most correct church for me, and I was thrilled to be a fully converted member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Church and Sexism

This has always been an interesting topic for me.  When I travel around the country for my speaking events, one of the questions I get asked quite often is, "How can you belong to a church that is sexist against women?"  I always answer the same way, "Because I know it's not." 

Let me explain to you why I don't believe the church is sexist.  I know my role in this world, I know my role in my family, I know my role in my church, and most importantly I know my role as a daughter of my Heavenly Father who loves me, and it's not less than a man.  My role is just different then a man's role.

I was sent to earth as a divine daughter of God.  He sent me here with strengths and weaknesses that no one else on this earth has.  He sent me here as an individual; a very unique individual.  My strengths and weaknesses have nothing to do with my sex.  They have to do with who I am as a Child of God.  

The church has roles for men and women, this is true.  They have leadership positions for men, just as they have leadership positions for women.  People struggle with the fact that the women of the church can't hold the priesthood.  That is a power that is only for the men, and that doesn't bother me 1 bit.  It doesn't make me mad, angry, or frustrated.  It also doesn't make me question the truthfulness of my church.  The reason why is because I believe the teachings of the church.  I believe that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the most perfect church on the planet, FOR ME.  In me believing that, it helps me understand that women not having the priesthood is not a punishment or a way to make the men better.  It's just a way for my Heavenly Father to let me know that he has great things in store for both men and women.  

Each of our roles in the church are completely different.  Quite frankly, I don't want the same responsibilities as a man.  I enjoy my responsibilities that are uniquely mine, as a woman.  I don't want to be the patriarch of my family.  I want the responsibility to stand by my husband, encourage him to make the right decisions, and be his cheerleader when he does.  It doesn't make me less than a man in my eyes.  It makes me equal to any man, just in a different way.

I love being the woman I am.  I love being a homemaker.  Does that mean that I'm not supposed to learn and grow and gain an education?  Of course not!  I am supposed to do all of those things.  The church even states that everyone should gain an education, not just men.  Women should take full advantage of every opportunity on this earth just as men should, but when it comes to family our roles as women are different, and I like that.

I am a very educated, hard working, smart, and passionate woman.  I graduated from college, I graduated from a trade school, I have my real estate license, and I worked until my health didn't allow me to anymore.  I have never once felt like my husband was better than me.  We are equal partners working towards the same goal.  That goes for our callings inside our church too.  We both of distinct, and individual callings in our church, and just because they are different doesn't make one more important than the other.  We both have our roles, and I am thankful for them.  

I am thankful that when I need a blessing for strength that my husband has the priesthood and can do that for me.  I'm glad I don't have the priesthood, because I have other responsibilities that are just for me, and that my husband doesn't have.  Just like he can give me a blessing, I can be his comfort, support, and level head.  I can get on my knees and pray for him in a way that no other person can.  I have a relationship with my Father in Heaven that no man will ever understand.  I am a righteous, faithful, daughter of God, and because of that I receive blessings that no man will ever get.  So even though I am not the head my home, I am the glue that keeps it together, and I'm very grateful for that.

In conclusion, I don't believe the church is sexist.  I don't believe that men are more important then women.  I know too much to say that God loves his son's more than his daughter's.  That is absolutely false, and anyone who says that the church thinks that men are more important is wrong.  Men would not be where they are in the church if they didn't have the love and devotion of a faithful daughter of God by their side.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

How does a Mormon feel about being Gay?

I first off want to say "I love You" to all of my family and friends that are Gay.  You know how I feel about you, you know that I love you, and you know that I have always and will always love you just as you are.  For those of you reading this and are wondering what Mormon's think about people who are Gay, I can't say that I speak for every Latter-Day Saint (Mormon).  All I can talk about is how I feel, and how I believe people should act.  

One of my best friends that I have known since I was 5 years old is a Lesbian.  She is in a same sex relationship with a girl who is amazing and treats her like a Queen.  She treats her like I have always hoped she would be treated.  She is in a loving, caring, real relationship, and that couldn't make me happier.  I love her with all my heart, and all I have ever wanted for her is to be happy.  All I have ever wanted is for her to experience the same loving relationship that I feel with my sweet husband.  I'm so thrilled that she has found someone who makes her smile, laugh, and feel whole.  I don't care if it is a man or woman, all I want is for her to feel loved.  She has that, and that makes me happy.

If you are wondering how you should treat someone who is Gay I'll put it simply.  You should love them unconditionally.  You should love them just as much as anyone.  In fact, you should love them as much as you would someone who is straight.  Christ taught us to "Love One Another".  It is the 2nd greatest commandment given to men.  There is your answer given straight from God.  You love them, just as he would.

I could say so much more, but I wanted to send you to a link of a man who says it so much better than me.  He is a Gay Mormon man, who is married to a woman.  He talks about his loving, and real relationship, and what it is like to be a Gay Mormon.  Please click here to read all about Josh Weed.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Inactive for 8 years and Back Again

I don't know how many people see this website of mine.  I don't know who reads this, or why they are on this page.  All I know right now, today, is that I want to share a bit of my testimony with you.

I was born and raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  When I was 14 my father was my Bishop, and I made the decision to stop going to church.  Over the next 8 years of my life I went against the majority of the teachings of the LDS church.  I drank alcohol, I had coffee every morning, I went to bars, I never dated an LDS man, I never admitted to anyone that I was LDS because I never wanted anyone to associate my actions with the church.  During these 8 years I found out a lot about myself.  I found some of my true, core beliefs.  I found out that I truly do believe in the church and it's teachings but I wasn't at a point in my life where I was ready to live them.  I had a lot of built up anger towards the church for the way that some things in my past had been handled. 

I felt a lot of guilt through my life.  I was angry at my Heavenly Father.  I didn't know if he truly loved me or cared about me.  I always knew that my Savior loved me, and I always knew that my Savior listened to me, but I didn't know if my Father in heaven did.  I know that a lot of my core beliefs aren't alined perfectly with the teachings of the church and I wasn't sure if I could really be a member of the church if I believed some of these things.  I had to come to my own acceptance that the church that was created by God is perfect.  God the eternal father and his son Jesus Christ are perfect, but the church that man put on this earth is not.  The church is ran by imperfect men.  That being said, I knew that it was the most perfect church on the planet at this time.  It may not be 100% but it's closer than any other.

I spent a lot of time on my knees at the age of 24 deciding if I was going to come back to the church and marry my amazing husband in the temple for time and all eternity.  I knew after praying that what I decided to do was correct.  That deciding to be a member, a fully active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was the best decision for me.

I will never forget going in for my temple recommend and meeting with my bishop.  It was the first time that I felt the spirit, and the first time that my Father in Heaven confirmed to me that he loved me, that all of my past sins had been forgiven, and that I was worthy to enter the house of the Lord.

I know that my decision to become a full fellowship member was the best one that I could make.  I'm happy with my decision.  Happier than I have ever been in my life.  You have to make your decision that is best for you.  I know that if you ask your Father in Heaven if the church is the right choice for you, he will give you the answer you need.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

How can God NOT exist?!

Morning in Utah
 I'm sitting in my hotel room on my husband's 30th Birthday and the sun is starting to come over the beautiful rocky mountains and I can't help but wonder how anyone could try to say that God doesn't exist.  That being said, I absolutely believe in evolution.  I think that if you don't believe in evolution then you're not being logical.  In my personal opinion though, there is no way that this earth was created without a God and a living Savior.  

I feel so grateful to live in one of the most beautiful places in all the world.  I grew up fishing on the Provo river with my Dad, hiking the red rocks of Zion national park, and snow skiing on the greatest snow on earth.  Evolution did not start this earth.  It was created by our Heavenly Father who sent us here to learn valuable lessons, go through trials, and endure to the end as our best self so that we can one day return to live in his presence.  

I'm so thankful to have a beautiful place to call my home as I go through this mortal life.  I'm thankful to have my needs met, have a wonderful family that loves me, and I'm truly grateful for my trials that I believe bring me closer to my Savior.  I am truly appreciative of the life that I have been given.  It's not always easy, but no one ever said it would be.  Like I said before, we were sent here to be tested and to remain faithful and strong so that we can return to our Father in Heaven again.  

I hope all of you are having a wonderful Spring on this beautiful April day.  I hope you can get out and enjoy the weather, the beauty of where you live, and even just listening to the birds chirping this morning.  What a beautiful world we have, and we should never take it for granted.  You can always find something beautiful, and something to put a smile on your face if you will just look.  :)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter

Just a short note for Easter....
{Posted on by Jill}
 When I became deathly ill 1 month after my husband and I were married in the temple, I really gained a new love and respect for my Savior. I was heartbroken thinking that I was going to leave my new eternal companion and spent hours and hours on my knees begging him to save me so I didn't have to leave my sweetheart. It was after a particular surgery where in recovery the nurses kept telling the doctor's that they were losing me. I had a very special experience where I knew that I had the option to choose to live. God was going to let me either come home and be out of pain or give me the chance to go back and live with my husband but continue to suffer. He let me know that he would be with me, but it would be painful. All I cared about was being with my husband if even for 1 more day. I instantly woke up in screaming pain, and have struggled with my health for the last 3 years of our marriage, but he kept his promise. I'm alive and I wake up every day to see my sweet husbands face, and for that I am eternally grateful. That is why my Savior, Jesus Christ, is important to me.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

We believe in Grace

I have struggled with many health problems in my short life of 27 years.  I don't say this to say that I have had more trials than others, or to say my life has been hard.  I simply state it because it's true.  Through my health struggles and trials I have come to learn that without my Savior's love and atoning sacrifice I would not be able to cope.  I have come to learn what Nephi said is true "It is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do" (2 Nephi 25:23)

There are so many times that I have broken down in the last 3 years and asked my Heavenly Father why I have to go through this. Why I must suffer in pain and discomfort.  I have pleaded with my Heavenly Father to take my suffering away only to know that it is in his time.  Through these experiences I have learned that he not only listens to me and is there, but he will give me the strength to go through these challenges with faith and comfort.  I have received priesthood blessings (a blessing that a male member of our church who is worthy to hold the priesthood can give to the ill, sad, or in need of any comfort) that have let me know that my suffering is not soon to end, but that my Heavenly Father will give me the strength to overcome my trials.  Through my own prayers, and temple visits I have learned that I am going through these challenges to strengthen me.  To help me understand people and their troubled hearts, and to let me be a comfort to them.  I have these trials to teach me how to be a better member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

"And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of ever kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sickness of his people" (Alma 7:11)

As I learn more and more about my religion on a daily basis I am learning that God gives grace to all men and women through their faithfulness.  Grace does not come just by asking for it.  Grace from our Heavenly Father comes after all we can do.  It comes from asking forgiveness and promising to never make the same mistake again.  And when we make the mistake again (which I do on multiple occasions) I have to repeat the process and ask for grace again.  I have learned that when I am weak, and when I question my Heavenly Father's plan for me, when I don't understand why he gives me the trials that he does, that he will also give me the grace if I will do all I can and yet I still need more.  When I have given my 100% and it is still not enough to get me through my hard times, that is when I can ask for his love, for his grace, and he will send it to me.

Recently I have learned that not only did Christ suffer for all of our weaknesses and sins, he also suffered for our pain and afflictions.  Not internal pain alone, but our physical pain.  For the hurt that my body goes through because of sickness that I have had, my Savior knows that pain and he alone can send comfort to me if I but ask.  My Savior knows my heart.  He knows when I am hurting so much that it seems I might break.  He knows when I have given my all and I can't give another drop, and he will send me his love, his comfort, and his grace.  

My Savior knows me.  He knows my heart, and my soul.  He knows my will and my desire to do his work is true.  He knows that my love for my fellowman is pure.  He knows that I try my best.  Because he knows this and has experienced every one of my life lessons and trials on his own, he alone can comfort me when I need it most.  If I but have faith in my Savior Jesus Christ, and Heavenly Father, they will not leave me comfortless.  They will come to me in my time of need and send their love.  They will wrap their loving arms around me, carry me, and walk with me when I can't possibly do it alone.  When I feel so alone, all I must do is ask and they will be there to love me.  Because I know this, I know that I can overcome any physical ailment that I have.  

I also know that because of my Savior's atoning sacrifice I will one day be made perfect.  One day I will have my physical and mental health made perfect, and I will no longer have to suffer.  If I remain faithful and do all I can do I will one day be healed and live perfectly in the love of my Savior and Heavenly Father.  I'm thankful for the knowledge and faith that I have regarding this imperfect body and mind that I have while on this earth.

"I can do all things through Christ with strengtheneth me" (Philippians 4:13)  

I'm grateful for my Saviors love, devotion, and perfect knowledge of me.  I'm thankful that he listens, loves, and comforts my weary heart and mind.  I look forward to the day that I can return to live in his presence again.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

All this talk about being a Mother

In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints there is a lot of talk about Mother's.  How it is the greatest calling ever for a woman.  How there is no such love like a Mother's love and on and on.  I must admit that it always stings me a little bit when I hear this because I know I am unable to have children.  It's not because I don't want to, in fact I would give anything on this earth to have a child, but my physical body won't allow it.  So when I hear talks by prophets, apostles, teachers, and so on about what a great calling a mother is I have had to figure out how I can still be important even if I can't have children of my own. 

I recently got a calling to teach the 3 year old children in my ward and I think I am starting to see how important little children are and why mothering is such an amazing calling in this life.  I get to spend 2 hours every week with these special little spirits and if I had my way I would take them all home with me and raise them as my own. 

The other Sunday was fast Sunday.  It's a time in our church where we don't eat until dinner to remember and have respect for the 40 day fast that our Savior did for us.  During this time at church we have fast and testimony meeting.  People from the congregation get the chance to stand and bear their testimony.  As I was sitting in the congregation that Sunday, the grandmother of one of my little 3 year old's stood and told of how thankful she was for Brother Dave and Sister Jill.  (my husband and me).  She said how Sunday used to be a battle with her little grand daughter who up to this point in her life has been through a lot.  She is being raised by her grand parents and although I don't know the specifics, I don't need to.  I know that this little girl hasn't had it as easy as a 3 year old should.  

Her grandmother said she was thankful for my husband and me because since we had been called to teach these little children her grand daughter now gets excited to come to church and learn of Jesus and his teachings and feel of the love that not only her Heavenly Father and Savior have for her, but the love that Sister Jill has for her.  I can't express how much I love that little girl.  I imagine I love her as much as I would love my own child if I could have one.

After this particular Sunday I spoke with my Father and Heaven and thanked him for putting these special spirits in my care.  Thank you for allowing me to be their teachers, because I need them just as much if not more than they need me.  I need their love, and kindness, and caring.  I need their hugs, and kisses, and hand holds.  I need these special little souls in my life to fill my empty heart and my sad heart at times that only the love of a child can fill.  I know I'm not a Mother, but I do know that I would make an amazing one.  I hope one day to have the love of my own child reach up to me and need me to love them, and need me to care of them, like these little 3 year old's are doing now.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Utah Valley Magazine and the Woman at the Well

Photographer Kenneth Linge
 I had the opportunity the other day to meet an incredible person.  Kenneth Linge is a photographer from Norway that has been living in Utah for the last 10 years.  I personally have been a fan of his work since I was in my teenage years.  He takes amazing, beautiful, and touching photos.  

I got the chance to have my picture taken by him because I will be appearing in the Utah Valley Magazine in April.  While I was at his studio I got the chance to get to talk to him for about an hour.  I must tell you of his smile.  He has a smile that will warm your heart and open a room up to talking.  His spirit is so kind and so beautiful.  He has a very thick accent and at times it was hard to understand him, but I knew him from his spirit that I felt.  He made me feel instantly comfortable, and when he spoke to me I felt like the only person in the room.  His stories of people he has photographed was amazing.  He told me some of their stories and it touched my heart. 

As I sat there listening to him talk and tell of his life, my mind often drifted to that of the Savior's life.  The Savior had the opportunity to meet so many people from all walks of life, as Kenneth has.  He was able to talk to them, and hear their stories, touch their lives, and put a smile on their faces.  Through his stories we have each been touched.  The light of our Savior and his compassionate service has brought me to my knees in gratefulness many times.  

Kenneth told me of a story of a woman I know very well.  This woman was burned in a fire over 90% of her body.  I have met her, listened to her speak, and have felt of her spirit.  It was so interesting to hear Kenneth's version of this woman.  He got to be with her one on and one and got to take her picture for the same magazine I will be in.  He got to hear of her story and feel of her heart.  As he told me about what a beautiful person she is inside, he told me that the most beautiful thing about this woman was her bursting, brilliant, loving, eyes.  He said that is what he focused on when he took her pictures.  He said her eyes really were the window to her soul, and her soul is beautiful.  This story reminded me of Christ and the woman at the well.  I have loved this story for years, but to be reminded of it in such a beautiful way touched my heart.  This woman felt like she was not worthy of love, certainly not of her Savior's love, and as he touched her and embraced her and told her what an incredible human being she is, this woman softened.  She felt of our Savior's unconditional love and was once again renewed.  Even though she had been through so much, and had sinned in the eyes of God, Christ let her know that he loved her still.  That if she would then decide to follow him she would be clean forever.

Now I'm not saying that the girl that Kenneth burned was dirty or had sinned, I'm simply comparing how he found her wonderful spirit, love, and light, behind her burns and scars just as our Savior found the woman at the well's love and light, while she was living in sin.

It made me see that we are each equal in the eyes of God.  He loves us each the same, and if we will simply be willing to stop whatever it is that we may be doing and choose to follow him he will renew us and save us.  Our Heavenly Father has saved a place for us in his eternal kingdom.  It is up to us to choose to get there.  I know that no matter what he have done, may be doing, or will do in the future, our Savior and Heavenly Father will always accept us, forgive us, and one day they will welcome us into their eternal kingdom to live with them again.  I'm so grateful for this knowledge that I have and for the opportunity I had to meet Kenneth Linge and have him remind me of this very simple truth.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Through the Mouth of Babes

Today was my first day back teaching my Sunday School class since I had surgery a week ago.  Oh, how I had missed my little children.  I teach the 3 year old children in my ward, and I must say I am definitely the lucky one.  As I'm sitting with them in singing time I could tell they were all a little tired.  I had 1 child on each side of me holding my hands, and I had 1 child on my lap cuddled into my chest sucking her thumb.  It felt so good to have their little loving spirits surrounding me.  A little boy in my class kept asking Sister Jill (me) when it was time for class.  He loves my class because they always get a treat, a drink, a story, and a game.  Sharing and singing time is kind of long because they have to sit there and be so reverent, but they do such a great job.  I was so thrilled when I got to tell him that it was finally our turn to go to our class.  

We got up to walk to our class, and the little angels folded their arms and quietly walked behind me into our classroom.  We set up our chairs and I sat down with my husband to teach our lesson.  I was so thrilled about today's lesson because it was on how our Heavenly Father and Jesus love us.  It was about all that Jesus and Heavenly Father have given us, and how they gave us the earth, our families, our pets, and our elder brother who gave his life for us, because of their deep and immense love that they have for us.

I started out the class with an opening prayer.  One of my sweet little girls came and sat on my lap and I helped her say the prayer.  After that we started class.  I started by bring each child one by one up to me, holding their hands, and telling them 3 things that I loved about them.  Then I looked in their eyes and asked them if they knew that I loved them.  It was so incredible to see the smile come across the child's face who was holding me hand when I said this.  Each one with so much confidence said, "Yes sister Jill.  I know you love me".  It touched my heart and filled my soul with joy to see these little precious children know how much I love them.

As the lesson went on, we got to a part where my husband got to tell the story in Mark 10: 13-16 about how Jesus blesses the little children.  It was so touching to me to see my husband tell each of these children how Jesus always has time for them, and how he loves them, and how he spent time giving each child a blessing because they were so special.  These little children sitting in my class fully understood that Jesus loved them, and that they were pure and innocent just like the children that Jesus blessed that day.  I went on to tell them that just like Jesus blessed the little children in the bible, if we ask and pray to Jesus and our Heavenly Father, Jesus will bless us too.

At the end of class I gave each of my children a treat before their parents came to pick them up.  1 by one they gave me a hug and left my class.  At the very end my husband and I were in the room with just 1 little girl.  This little girl has been so shy towards Dave.  It took her a couple weeks to warm up to me as well, but today was amazing.  She was sitting on the ground next to me and I had just given her, her special gift when my husband started to tell her how special she was to us.  He told her how much he loved her and how grateful we are that we get to be her teachers.  She looked at my husband and said, "No brother Dave, you're the one that's special and I love you."  I was so touched I nearly cried.  To see this precious little Child of God open up to her teacher and let him know that she loved him just as much as he loved her.  It was a moment I will treasure my entire life.

I know these children will grow up and might not remember sister Jill, but I will keep these special little spirits in my heart until the day I am gone from this earth.  I just think about when my husband and I head off to medical school in a year, and how these children will move onto their next class, and how much I will miss them.  I'm so thankful that Jesus let me see today a little bit of the love that he has for these special children and why.  I've not been blessed with the ability to have children of my own, but being able to be with these children is the next best thing.  If I can't be a Mom, I hope I get to be a teach for the rest of my life.  I'm so thankful to have these children teach me just as much as I teach them.

I hope you all have a great week and I'll talk to you all soon!

Sister Jill

Monday, January 16, 2012

Families are Forever

 This past weekend has been pretty hard.  On Friday my Mom ended up in the Hospital with a blockage in her small intestine.  She wasn't able to keep anything down, and was in excruciating pain.  It broke my heart to see her like this.  Every time I looked at her I was wishing that I could take away her pain.  The day after she arrived at the Hospital, she was given some medication and she stopped breathing.  After about 7-10 minutes they were able to get her to respond a little bit.  I was so scared I was going to lose my Mom.  

On Sunday my mom went in for surgery.  I wanted to be there so bad, but I now have a calling in my church to teach the 3 year old children.  I was going to ask someone else to teach my lesson so that I could be with my mom, but decided against it.  I prayed to my Father in Heaven and asked him what I should do.  I wasn't sure if I should leave my class to be with my mom or not.  I got a very calm feeling when I thought about teaching my lesson.  I knew my Heavenly Father was letting me know that if I would be where I was supposed to be, and be doing what I was called to do, that he would take care of my Mom until I was done and could get down to the hospital.  

After church got over, my husband and I rushed home, changed our clothes, and headed to the hospital.  I had just talked to my dad and he let me know that she was still in surgery after 4 hours, and he hadn't heard anything.  I was so nervous.  I have had the same surgery she was having done, and my husband had to remind me that when I had it done it took about 5 hours.  He assured me that she was going to be okay.  When he told me that I was at peace, and knew it was true.  

We arrived at the Hospital to see my dad just beside himself.  He was teary eyed, and so worried about my mom.  It was then that I gained a true testimony of the fact that because my parents were married and sealed for time and all eternity in the temple that even if my mom did pass on we would be together again.  An hour later she was brought into the recovery room, and 2 hours later she was awake and talking to us.  It was so good to see her alive.

We are taught through the Book of Mormon, and by our prophets that if we will choose the right, and follow Gods commandments, and do all we must do to be sealed with our spouse in the temple one day that we will have eternal families.  My marriage doesn't stop if I die.  Dave is sealed to me for time and all eternity, and no matter what happens in this life he will always be mine.  If I was to pass away tonight, Dave would be sad, but he would find so much comfort and joy knowing that I am on the other side waiting for him.  I will be his wife, best friend, and companion, long after our physical bodies have died.  The same thing goes for my parents.  Because they chose to marry in the temple, and continue to be worthy of their temple blessings, I know that even when they die they will always be my parents.  More importantly I know that I will see them again when this life is over.
Families are eternal if you will keep the commandments of God, and choose to be sealed in the temple.  That is what is such an amazing blessing that is taught to us by our true prophets of God.  If we will continually follow our Savior and Father in Heaven we will live with our families once this life is done.  

I am so grateful to have an eternal family.  I'm so grateful that my husband is mine for the rest of eternity and not just until "death do us part".  I know that once this life is over I will live with my Father in Heaven, Savior, and all of my family again.  It really is true; Families can be together forever through Heavenly Father's plan.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Introduction to the Mormon Housewife

Hi everyone!!  I'm so excited that you're here.  My name is Jill Strasburg, I'm 27, and I live in Utah.  I wanted to start a blog dedicated to talking about and discussing topics about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints aka Mormons.  Before I start I want you all to know a little about me.  Like I said my name is Jill, but I normally go by Jilly  :)  I am the youngest of 4 children, and I was born and raised in Utah.  I have parents that have been married for 35+ years, and I feel so blessed to have had them raise me with the standards I have.  I was baptized into the church at age 8 and followed all the teachings until I was 14.  At the age of 14 my father was Bishop (the leader of a parish) of my ward.  I was really offended by one of my Young Women's (a program for girls ages 12-18) and I stopped going to church.  I knew it was wrong, but I guess I felt justified.  I knew in my heart that the LDS (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) church is not about the people of the church.  It's not based on the people of the church it's based on the teachings in the Book of Mormon and by the teachings of Joseph Smith, and when you go to church you are going for your Father in Heaven, not the people there.  Being young and naive, I let the comment of my leader bother me and stopped going.

I was inactive until the age of 23.  I always knew the church was true.  I never doubted it, not a day in my life.  I just chose to not live according to it's principles, but I always knew the teachings were true.  I had prayed about it, and Heavenly Father had let me know that the teachings I had been taught were true.  Each of you can do this as well.  You can pray to God at anytime and he will comfort and guide you.  If you ask him about my church I promise he will answer.  I tell you all of this because I want you each to know that I have lived a life.  I have been on both sides of my religion.  I know that it is a challenge to live the Gospel principles.  I know it is a sacrifice and it takes hard work, but living on both sides I can testify to you that I am so much happier following my Father in Heaven then I ever was allowing temptation to overcome me.  Because I am so happy now, I rededicated my life to my church and I am so thankful to have it.

At 23 I met a man at the gym I was managing.  He walked up to me as I stood behind the desk and reached out his hand and said, "Hi I'm Dave."  I thought he was the most gorgeous thing I had ever seen and my heart pitter pattered.  I was hooked to him instantly.  Over the next year we dated and spent every second together that we could.  It was so hard to leave him every night, but knowing that we had chosen to get married in the temple (a sacred house of the Lord) I knew it was wrong to spend the night or have intimate relations with Dave until we were married.

On March 14, 2009 Dave and I got married for time and ALL eternity in the Mount Timpanogos temple in American Fork Utah.  It was the greatest day of my life.  While I was preparing to go through the temple I had an interview with my Bishop.  Every person must have 2 interviews to get a temple recommend.  1 is with your Bishop, and your 2nd is with the Stake President (a leader/advisor for many congregations).  During my interview with my Bishop (who happened to be my Dad for a second time in my life) I was asked a series of questions that you must be asked before entering the temple.  I was so worried and had doubts of my worthiness because I had not always lived the gospel principles.  I was so nervous because in my heart even though I knew I had taken the correct steps to repent, I feared I might be unworthy.  My Bishop asked me the questions which I honestly answered, and then he looked at me and said, "Jill you are worthy to enter the house of the Lord."  At that moment I had an amazing feeling come over me.  It was calm and peaceful and gave me and intense feeling of love.  My Bishop said, "Do you feel that?"  I said, "Yes, what is it?"  He looked at me and said, "Jill, that is the spirit/holy ghost letting you know that your Heavenly Father finds you worthy to enter the temple as well."  At that moment it was the first time I had been able to recognize the spirit.  I promised at that moment that if Heavenly Father would continually send me the spirit that I would follow him 100%  He has kept his promise and I have kept mine.  I have become very sensitive to his promptings and I'm so thankful for that guidance.

In the upcoming posts I will write on a bunch of different topics.  Please feel free to ask me any questions that you might have in the comments.  I will answer them to the best of my ability and with 100% honesty and sincerity.  I'm so excited to share my love for my christian church with you.  I'll talk to you all soon!