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Choose to Play

“๐๐ฎ๐ญ ๐ˆ ๐ฃ๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ญ ๐ฐ๐š๐ง๐ญ ๐ญ๐จ ๐ฉ๐ฅ๐š๐ฒ!
“๐๐จ๐ญ ๐จ๐ง ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐›๐ž๐ง๐œ๐ก…๐š๐ ๐š๐ข๐ง!? – ๐๐จ ๐ง๐จ๐ญ ๐ฆ๐ž!”
Why me? Perhaps the better question is why not me?
All too frequently as a teenager – that’s where I found myself in the High School Basketball team. I just wanted to play in the game.
I wanted a jersey, I didn’t want to sit on the sidelines – I simply wanted to play!
In my youthfulness and eagerness to play, long hours of practice and effort eventually paid off, and I became a regular starter – playing constantly.
I learned too, that sometimes when you are not playing well, the coach can take you out of the game.
Similarly in life, I want to be where the action is.
Sitting on the sidelines is just not for me.
At home, at work, in the community I need to be involved, I need to play, to make a difference.
As Oliver Wendell Holmes said “It is required of a man that he share the action and the passion of his time at the peril of being judged not to have lived.”
Whatever it is that is most important in your life…
– choose to be engaged
– choose to participate
– choose to practice and expend the effort
– choose to get involved
– choose to make a difference
Decide now to get up off the bench, move from the sidelines and into the field of action – ๐’„๐’‰๐’๐’๐’”๐’† ๐’•๐’ ๐’‘๐’๐’‚๐’š!
What will you choose to do today?

Its time to wake up!

Are you wide awake or sleepwalking through life?
Are you aware & conscious about all that is going on around you?
Are you stuck in a rut?
Some cluesโ€ฆ
– You may endlessly scroll through Facebook, Instagram or Tik Tok.
– You lack a clear direction in your life.
– You are often stressed, worried or anxious.
– You frequently complain or moan about other people.
– You canโ€™t seem to find quiet time to even breathe.
Sound familiar?
It is really easy to slip into a very comfortable and rigid routine in your daily life.
We fall into an emotional state of autopilot and disconnect from our real feelings.
Each can bring exactly the same.
Choose to ๐’˜๐’‚๐’Œ๐’† ๐’–๐’‘!
Start today by choosing the life you want to create!
Choose to find some fun today. George Bernard Shaw saidโ€ฆ
โ€œ๐–๐ž ๐๐จ๐งโ€™๐ญ ๐ฌ๐ญ๐จ๐ฉ ๐ฉ๐ฅ๐š๐ฒ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐›๐ž๐œ๐š๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ž ๐ฐ๐ž ๐ ๐ซ๐จ๐ฐ ๐จ๐ฅ๐; ๐ฐ๐ž ๐ ๐ซ๐จ๐ฐ ๐จ๐ฅ๐ ๐›๐ž๐œ๐š๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ž ๐ฐ๐ž ๐ฌ๐ญ๐จ๐ฉ ๐ฉ๐ฅ๐š๐ฒ๐ข๐ง๐ .โ€
Be curious, look around. Enjoy the moment
Put your phone away today โ€“ stop scrolling!
Have a real conversation with someone! If you struggle with that then get someone else to hold you accountable.
Start journaling! Record your feelings, recall what makes you happy and capture the conversations you had in the day.
Call or write to someone you havenโ€™t spoken to in a while.
Learn to stop and awaken your five senses of listening, touching, looking, smelling, and tasting.
In slowing down, you will recognise that you have much to learn as you awaken from your slumber.
Its time to wake up!

Understanding

Let me dispel the misunderstanding…
Today I will be attending church in Utrecht (again).
I first attended there over 28 years ago, on Sunday 5th September 1993.
It was my first Sunday in the Netherlands.
I had no knowledge of the language and struggled throughout to understand.
Thankfully Monic was on hand to help my understanding a little.
Consider for a moment the word ๐ฎ๐ง๐๐ž๐ซ๐ฌ๐ญ๐š๐ง๐๐ข๐ง๐ .
It is defined as – “to know how something works or to know what something means.”
As everyone knows, I am religiously active as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In my efforts to promote understanding, perhaps I can be a bit annoying and even unduly enthusiastic about my faith at times!
I certainly understand how easily that can happen, as the subject of religion can be a little touchy for many people.
Have you ever wondered why I am so anxious to share my views?
Like me, you may worry about the conflicts in the world, the political turmoil, the economic instability, and the pressures of living in a world where illness, or the death of a loved one may have taken their toll on you in all kinds of physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional ways.
I certainly do not understand the complexities of all of the volatility and turmoil in the world.
Through it all however โ€“ your family are probably the most important thing in the world for you.
As you look to the future, you may be anxious what it may hold for you, your partner, your children, and your grandchildren.
At times, I am.
But then I stop and remember my why.
My understanding of a much greater plan, which I believe to be immensely important for everyone.
It centres around my belief in Jesus Christ.
He always brings peace and safety.
My faith in Him it is not passive; it is very active.
Like so many others, maybe you are searching for something?
Just as Monic helped me understand Dutch a little all those years ago, our missionaries can help you come to understand a little more about the purpose of life, why you are here, the plan of salvation and even answer that question that troubles so many โ€“ is there life after death?
Perhaps itโ€™s time, once and for all to understand these things, to let God prevail โ€“ He is no great mystery after all.
I promise – you too can ๐’–๐’๐’…๐’†๐’“๐’”๐’•๐’‚๐’๐’….
#HearHim

The Book of Life

I was asked recently, “๐ƒ๐ข๐ ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ ๐ฐ๐ซ๐ข๐ญ๐ž ๐ข๐ง ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ ๐ฃ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ๐ง๐š๐ฅ ๐ญ๐จ๐๐š๐ฒ?”
Did you know that some of the most important historical records are the diaries and other personal writings of individuals from all different walks of life?
Living in the Netherlands, I am often reminded of one the most significant diaries of our time – that of Anne Frank, the 13-year-old Jewish girl living here, who, at the age of 16, died in a German concentration camp.
Her diary, written whilst she was confined in an Amsterdam apartment house, shares her story of how she and her family went into hiding for two years to avoid Nazi persecution. Since her death, the words from her diary have inspired millions. And because of her diary the world has known all about the terrors of growing up during the Holocaust.
My journaling journey began early when I was a young 12-year-old.
It has been the first thing Iโ€™ve done every morning for as long as I can remember.
๐๐ž๐ซ๐ก๐š๐ฉ๐ฌ ๐ข๐ญ๐ฌ ๐ญ๐ข๐ฆ๐ž ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ ๐ญ๐จ ๐›๐ž๐ ๐ข๐ง?
You do not have to write every day, even though this would be good. It could be weekly. It could even be as and when there is something that is memorable or moving or meaningful.
Remembering is an important part of life and journals help us to do that. They also help me to slow down!

๐‘ณ๐’Š๐’‡๐’† ๐’Š๐’” ๐’‚ ๐‘ฉ๐’๐’๐’Œ – by Zelda Davis Howard

Life is a book made up of days
Each one of us writes one,
Itโ€™s opened when we come to earth
And closed when life is done.
No pen but ours ere touches it
In our own way we write,
Whether we fail or succeed
Turns with the page at night.
And there is no erasing it
To add or take away,
The yesterdayโ€™s account is closed,
Sealed within white or grey.
The morning gives another sheet
Thatโ€™s broad and very white,
And oh, how glorious to have
Another chance to write!
No bad is there too small to show
No good thatโ€™s ever lost,
All that we do goes into Lifeโ€™s book
In black and white embossed.
  • Every life is a tale worth telling.
  • Why not begin yours today?

Is there a God?

Frequently I’m asked – “Is there a God, is there a creator?”
In answer to that question, consider this response…
“What are the odds that a tornado spinning through a junkyard would create a Boeing 747?” – Bruce C. Hafen.
In Alma 30:44, Alma states to Korihor “All things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion.”
A study of the sciences, helps us to understand that if the earth were just slightly closer to the sun, then all life on earth would simply be burnt up.
Conversely, if the earth was slightly further from the sun, then all life on earth would freeze!
I choose to believe that a divine power holds things in place through laws that have been irrevocably decreed from long before this earth was created.
I know that no matter what era we live in, we can find peace in the powerful parallels between the scriptures and our own lives.

You….growing older.

It is later than you think.
Remember how short our time is.
It is a characteristic of youth to suppose that life is long and time is in abundance.
Growing older is never easy.
There comes a time in everyoneโ€™s life when confronting ourselves with ourselves is mandatory.
โ€œThere is an old man (or woman) up there ahead of you that you ought to know.
He looks somewhat like you, walks like you.
He has your nose, your eyes, your chin.
And whether he loves you or hates you, respects you or despises you, whether he is angry or comfortable, whether he is miserable or happy, depends on you.
For ๐’š๐’๐’– made him. He is ๐’š๐’๐’–, grown older.โ€ โ€“ Author unknown.
What kind of narrative are you writing for your life?

Lessons that change us

๐‹๐ž๐ฌ๐ฌ๐จ๐ง๐ฌ ๐ญ๐ก๐š๐ญ ๐๐จ๐งโ€™๐ญ ๐œ๐ก๐š๐ฅ๐ฅ๐ž๐ง๐ ๐ž ๐ฎ๐ฌ ๐ซ๐š๐ซ๐ž๐ฅ๐ฒ ๐œ๐ก๐š๐ง๐ ๐ž ๐ฎ๐ฌ – Brad Wilcox
This is a cracking photo of two young missionaries, returning home exhausted, after another long hard day. This was outside our Stowe Road apartment in Shepherd’s Bush, London โ€“ in January 1984. Iโ€™d been out only a few weeks in the England London Mission.
I had the best trainer ever in Kelley Gray
Times never to be forgotten.
Those were the days!!
Every day those lessons in the mission field challenged me.
More significantly, they changed me.
Now, as Monic and I lead the Belgium Netherlands Mission, frequently I see great power and wisdom in the phrase “๐’๐’†๐’”๐’”๐’๐’๐’” ๐’•๐’‰๐’‚๐’• ๐’…๐’๐’โ€™๐’• ๐’„๐’‰๐’‚๐’๐’๐’†๐’๐’ˆ๐’† ๐’–๐’” ๐’“๐’‚๐’“๐’†๐’๐’š ๐’„๐’‰๐’‚๐’๐’ˆ๐’† ๐’–๐’”.”
For all who have served or are currently serving, I am absolutely certain each of you will know exactly what I mean.
That said, these lessons don’t only take place in the mission field.
What lessons have challenged and changed you?

Deep Roots

Storms blew across Europe on Friday.
Whilst walking through our neighbourhood yesterday, there was plenty evidence of fallen trees.
We passed a few trees that had been uprooted. Their roots seemed quite shallow, without much depth.
For a moment, I wondered if they would have survived the wind and storm, if their roots had been deeper.
Similarly, each of us will face the winds and storms of adversity in our own lives.
As the wind blows, are you prepared to withstand the buffetings that follow?
Seedlings fall to the ground, and dependent upon a number of factors, some may flourish and grow into mighty trees.
Opposition, challenge, and difficulty are part of growth. It takes time, effort, perseverance, set-backs will be inevitable and adaptation certain.

Roots

โ€œBut unlike trees, we can choose to deliberately develop the spiritual root structure for our lives. We decide where to set our roots down and how deeply to sink them into the soil. Daily decisions make tiny, almost imperceptible differences in the roots of our faith, the effect of which becomes foundational.โ€ โ€“ says L. Whitney Clayton.
In the Book of Mormon, Alma likened the word of God to a seed and spoke of the need to nourish the seed’s growth into a tree:
“And behold, as the tree beginneth to grow, ye will say: Let us nourish it with great care, that it may get root, that it may grow up, and bring forth fruit unto us. And now behold, if ye nourish it with much care it will get root, and grow up, and bring forth fruit.
“But if ye neglect the tree, and take no thought for its nourishment, behold it will not get any root; and when the heat of the sun cometh and scorcheth it, because it hath no root it withers away, and ye pluck it up and cast it out.” (Alma 32:37-38.)
It is my personal witness, that as we weather the storms of life, we will be strengthened by learning of Jesus Christ.
As we deeply root ourselves in the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ and exercise our faith in Him, He will fortify us against any buffetings from winds and storms that will come.

Are you drifting?

One of the common traps of life is ๐’…๐’“๐’Š๐’‡๐’•๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ.

From time to time, all of us are likely to drift.

It is easy to get caught up in the currents of life, outside influences and being carried along with the crowds.

Perhaps you are stuck on autopilot, aimlessly sleepwalking through each and every day, tossed to and fro like a piece of driftwood floating on the seas?

Are you drifting?

Do you know that feeling?

Drift: โ€œto move slowly, especially as a result of outside forces, with no control over directionโ€

Is this what you really want from life, simply to drift?

At some point, just like the driftwood, youโ€™ll be washed up on the shoreline, and may ask yourself, โ€œhow did I get here, why am I here, where am I going?โ€

Have you been washed up yet?

Is it time to take stock and find your purpose in life?

Are you looking for a light to help you navigate through the stormy waters of life?

Now What?

I recall at my fatherโ€™s funeral, a male choir formed of sons, grandsons, and sons-in-law, sang for him his favourite song:

โ€œBrightly beams our fatherโ€™s mercy from his lighthouse evermore,

But to us he gives the keeping of the lights along the shore.

Chorus

Let the lower lights be burning; send a gleam across the wave;

Some poor fainting, struggling seaman you may rescue; you may save.

Dark the night of sin has settled; loud the angry billows roar.

Eager eyes are watching, longing, for the lights along the shore.

Chorus

Trim your feeble lamp, my brother; some poor sailor, tempest tossed,

Trying now to make the harbour, in the darkness may be lost.

Chorus

Jesus Christ can help you to stop drifting through life.ย  He says in John 8:12 โ€œI am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of lifeโ€

The gospel will act as an anchor and stop your drift.

Is it time to stop drifting?

Surprise!

Every now and again, you get a pleasant little surprise. Yesterday was one of those days!
I walked into my local branch of Holland & Barrett to purchase some Omega 3 tablets. I found the Omega 3 fish oil, but had to call upon the shop assistant to point out the Omega 3 algae version. She was very helpful and I made my selection.
After scanning my tablets at the checkout, she said that’ll be ยฃ5.99. “Is that all?” I responded, “I’m very happy to pay that! The price on the shelf said ยฃ19.99!”
“You’re too honest” I hear you all say!!
Why didn’t I just keep my mouth shut?!
Anyway, the checkout assistant walked over again to check the price on the shelf and sure enough, it was ยฃ19.99.
…..Then the wonderful surprise.
She returned and said, well “There’s a mistake somewhere, but the price here at the checkout is ยฃ5.99, so ยฃ5.99 it is!”
Delighted, I cheerfully made my payment and walked out a very happy customer. ๐Ÿ˜€
Thank you Holland & Barrett, you made my day!
Have you had any pleasant surprises like this recently?