Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Ministry Of Angels

Today my friend and I  had a discussion about angels.  From our discussion, I was reminded of a talk given by Elder Holland in the October 2008 General Conference about the ministry of angels. Here are some of his thoughts on the topic:

... My beloved brothers and sisters, I testify of angels, both the heavenly and the mortal kind. In doing so I am testifying that God never leaves us alone, never leaves us unaided in the challenges that we face. “[N]or will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man [or woman or child] upon the face thereof to be saved.” (Moroni 7:36)....

... I testify that angels are still sent to help us, even as they were sent to help the Savior of the world Himself. Matthew records in his gospel that after Satan had tempted Christ in the wilderness “angels came and ministered unto him"  (Matt 4:11).  Even the Son of God, had need for heavenly comfort during His sojourn in mortality. And so such ministrations will be to the righteous until the end of time. As Mormon said to his son Moroni:

“Has the day of miracles ceased?  Or have angels ceased to appear unto the children of men? Or has he withheld the power of the Holy Ghost from them? Or will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man upon the face thereof to be saved?

“Behold I say unto you, Nay; for … it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men. …For behold, they are subject unto [Christ], to minister according to the word of his command, showing themselves unto them of strong faith and a firm mind in every form of godliness"...

...I have spoken here of heavenly help, of angels dispatched to bless us in time of need. But when we speak of those who are instruments in the hand of God, we are reminded that not all angels are from the other side of the veil. Some of them we walk with and talk with—here, now, every day. Some of them reside in our own neighborhoods. Some of them gave birth to us, and in my case, one of them consented to marry me. Indeed heaven never seems closer than when we see the love of God manifested in the kindness and devotion of people so good and so pure that angelic is the only word that comes to mind....

Elder Holland then tells a wonderful story of an earthly angel that you can watch and/or read about below:
 You can also see the above video by clicking here.

May I share with you an account by my friend and BYU colleague, the late Clyn D. Barrus. I do so with the permission of his wife, Marilyn, and their family.

Referring to his childhood on a large Idaho farm, Brother Barrus spoke of his nightly assignment to round up the cows at milking time. Because the cows pastured in a field bordered by the occasionally treacherous Teton River, the strict rule in the Barrus household was that during the spring flood season the children were never to go after any cows who ventured across the river. They were always to return home and seek mature help.

One Saturday just after his seventh birthday, Brother Barrus’s parents promised the family a night at the movies if the chores were done on time. But when young Clyn arrived at the pasture, the cows he sought had crossed the river, even though it was running at high flood stage. Knowing his rare night at the movies was in jeopardy, he decided to go after the cows himself, even though he had been warned many times never to do so.

As the seven-year-old urged his old horse, Banner, down into the cold, swift stream, the horse’s head barely cleared the water. An adult sitting on the horse would have been safe, but at Brother Barrus’s tender age, the current completely covered him except when the horse lunged forward several times, bringing Clyn’s head above water just enough to gasp for air.

Here I turn to Brother Barrus’s own words:

“When Banner finally climbed the other bank, I realized that my life had been in grave danger and that I had done a terrible thing—I had knowingly disobeyed my father. I felt that I could redeem myself only by bringing the cows home safely. Maybe then my father would forgive me. But it was already dusk, and I didn’t know for sure where I was. Despair overwhelmed me. I was wet and cold, lost and afraid.

“I climbed down from old Banner, fell to the ground by his feet, and began to cry. Between thick sobs, I tried to offer a prayer, repeating over and over to my Father in Heaven, ‘I’m sorry. Forgive me! I’m sorry. Forgive me!’

“I prayed for a long time. When I finally looked up, I saw through my tears a figure dressed in white walking toward me. In the dark, I felt certain it must be an angel sent in answer to my prayers. I did not move or make a sound as the figure approached, so overwhelmed was I by what I saw. Would the Lord really send an angel to me, who had been so disobedient?

“Then a familiar voice said, ‘Son, I’ve been looking for you.’ In the darkness I recognized the voice of my father and ran to his outstretched arms. He held me tightly, then said gently, ‘I was worried. I’m glad I found you.’

“I tried to tell him how sorry I was, but only disjointed words came out of my trembling lips—‘Thank you … darkness … afraid … river … alone.’ Later that night I learned that when I had not returned from the pasture, my father had come looking for me. When neither I nor the cows were to be found, he knew I had crossed the river and was in danger. Because it was dark and time was of the essence, he removed his clothes down to his long white thermal underwear, tied his shoes around his neck, and swam a treacherous river to rescue a wayward son.”

My beloved brothers and sisters, I testify of angels, both the heavenly and the mortal kind. In doing so I am testifying that God never leaves us alone, never leaves us unaided in the challenges that we face. “[N]or will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man [or woman or child] upon the face thereof to be saved.” (Moroni 7:36) On occasions, global or personal, we may feel we are distanced from God, shut out from heaven, lost, alone in dark and dreary places. Often enough that distress can be of our own making, but even then the Father of us all is watching and assisting. And always there are those angels who come and go all around us, seen and unseen, known and unknown, mortal and immortal.

May we all believe more readily in, and have more gratitude for, the Lord’s promise as contained in one of President Monson’s favorite scriptures: “I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, … my Spirit shall be in your [heart], and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.”  In the process of praying for those angels to attend us, may we all try to be a little more angelic ourselves—with a kind word, a strong arm, a declaration of faith and “the covenant wherewith [we] have covenanted.” Perhaps then we can be emissaries sent from God when someone, perhaps a Primary child, is crying, “Darkness … afraid … river … alone.” To this end I pray in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.

You can read/watch  the whole talk by Elder Holland by clicking here....and remember the words of Elder Holland:   "May we all try to be a little more angelic ourselves..."

I did another blogpost about the ministry of angels.  You can read it by clicking here.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Wake Up, Parents!

My friend shared  the blog post listed below on her facebook page.  The blog title is called  Blood Sweat and Cheers and it is written by  Kristine Thompson.  This is the link to the blog that I  am posting:

 Way to parent Kristine Thompson! Thanks for the informative article. 

Blood Sweat and Cheers

Monday, July 8, 2013

Wake Up and Smell the Sexting, Parents!

I will get some criticism for writing about this, but it’s important for all parents to hear. And when I say “All”, I mean ALL, even those with babies and younger children. You need to know what is in store for you, because it’s only going to get worse.
Sorry in advance, kids. To parents, you’re welcome. Listen up!
My boys would probably say I’m a bit crazy when it comes to their phones and iPods. Maybe not even “a bit”, but just downright crazy. I have reason. I have multiple reasons. I have 4 reasons ranging in the ages of 10 to 19. While I try not to invade privacy, these are my children and I have the right to invade. Anytime. Anywhere. Anyhow. When they turn 18, I stop invading. Yes, my 19 year old is now breathing a massive sigh of relief, but it doesn’t mean he can act-a-fool without getting feedback.

Cell phones are a blessing and a curse. I grew up without one. My kids have a hard time believing that I made it until I was 20 before I had a cell phone. And then it was their dad’s bag phone. My first official cell phone was the monster that had a 20lb battery attached and looked like a VCR with an antenna stuck to the side of your face. I carried that sucker proudly around in my purse (leaving no room in my purse for anything else, mind you). And when I’d get a call, I’d excitedly heave it out of my bag, screw on the antenna, press on the green button 15 times to answer it and stand against a window for reception. Once the call started, I knew I only had a select few minutes to chat because cellular phone charges were highway robbery. I think my first plan was in-state only and it charged me per minute during the day, but it was free nights and weekends. By the evening or weekend, I was so tired from carrying it around, I’d just tell people to call me on my house phone anyway.
I’m almost 40 and have been active in the last 20 years of cell phone evolution. The plans are more reasonable, and the phones are small and lightweight, so one would say that it’s improved since 1993.
This “one” would say No, it hasn’t….
I’d like to rewind cell phone technology back about 10 years with, still, the better plans, but the simple flip phone. No texting, no apps, just calls. Remember that time where you actually used a phone to call people? There’s a concept, kids! I could go on a tangent about how much more personal and important it is to actually speak to a person, but this is not my rant today. My rant is focused elsewhere. I’m here to enlighten my fellow moms and dads on apps – these little things our kids say “Hey, Mom can I buy such-n-such for 99 cents?” And the parent busy with something else acknowledges and may or may not make a mental note of “Junior just downloaded the game, SnapChat”. Guess what, mom. SnapChat is NOT a game. And, guess what else? Most of the "dangerous" apps are FREE!
I had a MySpace page before my kids even knew what it was. When my eldest turned 12, he asked to have one. His dad and I reluctantly agreed under several stipulations:  We set it up with kid controls. We knew the password at all times. And we would be checking it. Weekly. Daily. Whenever we damn well pleased. Then Facebook came along and Myspace disintegrated into cyber air. Like the rest of the world, he migrated over to Facebook, as did I. Same rules applied. Then Twitter came along. Kids left FB in their dust. This mom opened a Twitter account. Instagram followed. Mom followed. Notice the trend? But then things got tricky. Some of the open forum format changed to apps that you’d have to be invited to, to apps that were just between two people, to apps that take a quick photo and within seconds it disappears in cyber space to never be traced. That app? Snapchat. While I could somewhat regulate social networks (and sometimes not successfully. Mom-stalking isn’t fool proof), these other apps had this mom stumped. While investigating on what I could see, I was dumbfounded by some of things kids were posting for the world to see. Where are these kids’ parents? Do they know? Do they care? Am I breaking a Mom to Mom unsaid law by not informing them? I WANT to know. You better tell me, fellow parents! I will knock a Mann kid out. Look, I’ve seen things my kids have posted that have made me go “Woah! Oh no he didn’t!!”. They have had posts removed, comments removed, pictures removed, accounts deactivated, phones taken, iPods taken, phone service disconnected. Yes, we went there. They know what is acceptable and what is not. Simply put:
If you post something that you’d be embarrassed for your Mom to see, don’t post it.” THAT’s my rule. Like or not, you break it, we’re going to rumble.
This leads me to alerting parents who are unaware of the unsaid convenience of, not only texting, but sharing pics, videos, etc.. I’m not aiming usage of these at just teens, but sadly preteens and children under the age of 10 as well. Many times they stumble upon something innocently, whether it’s their peer cursing, borderline inappropriate content, and even outright TRASH. My 10 year old has a texting app on his iPod. He is not allowed to have a phone, but we agreed to let him have an app to text me, his dad, his brothers, and his stepparents. If he wants to call a friend, he can use my phone. He also has an Instagram account where photos and now videos are shared. I can see who he follows and what they post. I’ve unfollowed a dozen or more of his older brothers friends unbeknownst to him, because of their inappropriate posting and language. I am THISCLOSE to deleting everyone but family and his 10 year old friends. My 13, 15, and 19 year olds have/had KIK, vine, snapchat, ooVoo and the usual suspects – Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. At least if you’re going to let your children have these apps, be informed:

Facebook and Twitter are social networks. If you don’t know what they are, you need to be hit on the head with a hammer. Both social networks have Inboxes. Check them regularly, parents. Don’t assume your kid is making great decisions if you don’t see anything on their “Wall”. Word to the wise, have them access Twitter from your iPhone and now ALL notifications come to you automatically, even inbox messages. Know their passwords. Always.
Instagram: Pros – fun place to share videos and photos. No inbox feature, so everything is “out there”.
Cons – if you don’t keep up with who your kid is following, you’re being naïve. My 10 year old has 13, 15, 19 year old brothers who all have friends with Instagram accounts. The chances of him seeing or reading something above his 10 year old sweet, innocent brain are great. Know their passwords and check Followers and what they post. Regularly. Unfollow, delete, block, unfollow, delete, block. Repeat.
Vine: Don’t let the description “The best way to share life in motion. Create short, beautiful looping videos in a simple and fun way” mislead you. These looping videos can actually be a lot of fun to share. My oldest son has made some hilarious ones, but vine does not regulate Rated G vs Rated X. If your kid has a vine account or follows someone who posts vine videos, WATCH THEM. Vine doesn’t know or care if it’s a 21 year old adult or an 8 year old kid on the receiving end. And remember, even if they don’t have the Vine app, if the person posts them to Twitter and your kid follows them from their Twitter account, they can watch them there.
KIK: Instant Messenger. Basically if you don’t know a person well enough to know their phone number to text or call them, you can KIK them. My mindset, if you don’t know them “that well”, you don’t need to chat with them about anything. Ever.
User Reviews on Google for KIK:
“This app is awesome and cool my kik is ________. Kik me no guys jst girls from Detroit. I’m 15. Hit me up.”  - I purposely did not post this person’s KIK name, but I can tell you if I see my 15 year old’s KIK name on FREAKING GOOGLE for someone to “hit him up”, he’s going to get “hit up” alright. Hit right upside the head with his iPhone before I crush it into 10000 pieces. And who’s to say this is a 15 year old kid and not some 42 year old creep living in his mother’s basement preying on young girls? Yes, I may have watched one too many episodes of 20/20, but that shit is real, folks!
“Definitely a great app if you don’t like giving people your number. It’s just like texting someone. 27 year old woman looking for friends. KIK is _____________.”
What if that 27 year old woman “looking for friends” is KIKing your 11 year old son?
I will say KIK isn’t horrible if you manage it and know who they’re talking to.
ooVoo: “ooVoo video chat gives you two things no one else can” (now THERE’s a wide open statement) “Free multistream video calls with up to 12 people at a time along with unsurpassed stability and quality.” This is the equivalent to FaceTime for iPhone users, and Skype. Be the mom or dad peeping over from behind the dresser to make sure there’s a recognized person on the other end. And they are age appropriate. And clothed. Better yet, pop a squat beside your kid and say “What up, home dog?”  While it may deduct a few parental cool points, it’ll start to deter the caller to have these ooVoo conversations for fear she’ll have to speak to your super embarrassing mother.
And last, but certainly not least, SnapChat. Don't let that cute little ghost fool you. The official description says “The fastest way to share a moment on iPhone”. Pictures/videos are created, an alert is sent to the receiver, they watch it and within 10 seconds it’s gone. No record, no trace. Parents, THINK ABOUT IT.
Snapchat is bad news folks. My advice is to delete the app if you see it. Period. If they have an iPhone and want to make a video, they can with the iPhone camera or now they can do it on Instagram, which has supposedly regulated their site not to post inappropriate videos. We shall see….
A new app is released quicker than you can blink. And I find that if weren’t for my parental stalking, I’d be completely clueless to all the new ways kids are connecting and sharing information. There are tons I did not cover, but these are the teen faves. The fiancé and I have 4 teens with smartphones, and 2 ten year olds with iPod touches. 6 multiplied by these apps equals A LOT to keep up with. (Ok, 5 since my oldest has graduated to a non-stalking mom. My eyes are still open in the public forum). In this day and age, we, as parents, have to look out for our kids and for each other. I seriously long for the day that my biggest parental concern was cars coming down the street while they rode bikes. I could see in clear view the danger. Technology blinds us to danger, a danger of kids growing up a little fast, knowing more than they should at a young age, and exchanging inappropriate information for it to only *POOF* disappear within a 10 second window and we are none the wiser. Don't be the parent who thinks "My kid would never do that." 
Get wise.
I’m the unpopular mom who takes her kids phone and iPod at bedtime (even during the summer) and plugs them in my room. As recently as last night, I got the big SIGH when I asked my 13 year old for his phone. When he’s 18, he can vine, snapchat, tweet, and kik until hell freezes over. He just better hope it doesn’t cross a public forum that I see it. Just because they are bigger, doesn’t mean I still won’t knock a Mann kid out.
I now stand to be on the Most Hated list by kids because of this blog, but as I’ve seen many post on Twitter after saying something painful, but true:

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

"Go Ye Into All the World, and Preach The Gospel to Every Creature" (Mark 16:15).

Kristine has taken the scripture from Mark to heart 
and has decided to serve a mission for 
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  
Kristine writes:   I am going on a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Not because it's suddenly become the thing to do for young, single, LDS females, not because I am a college graduate that can't get full time job, and not because I am seeking for a next adventure in my life. No, I am going on a mission because I love the Lord. I have a desire to share with others what has made me so happy.

Krisitne opened her mission call at the bishop's house of our home ward 
with some of her friends from Duarte. 

We (Scott, Kathleen, Renee, and Sam) were in Idaho visiting Janelle and Co.  
Rachel and Lisa were in Provo.  Thank goodness for Google+.

This is Rachel and Lisa watching Kristine as she reads about her mission call.

Kristine is showing her Duarte friends a picture of 
her new Mission President, Pres. C. Jeffery Morby

This was our view in Idaho of Kristine as she read her letter from Pres. Monson 
with her assignment to serve in Oregon, Portland Mission.
Her report date is October 9, 2013
Click here to learn how missionaries are assigned to their area of service.  

 We are very proud of Kristine and her desire to bring 
The Gospel of Jesus Christ
 to her brothers and sisters in Oregon.  

Click here to learn about why Mormons send missionaries around the world.