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Glorious!

Glorious!
Friday was a long day of missionary interviews in Rotterdam.
Arriving back at the house late afternoon, the mission home was filled with missionaries busy transforming the living room into a film studio for a Christmas video.
Observing from a distance, my first tuneful thought was, “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…”
It wasn’t long before a beautiful Christmas Carol was sounding melodically through the mission home, filling it with love, peace and joy.
“𝑯𝒂𝒓𝒌 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑯𝒆𝒓𝒂𝒍𝒅 𝑨𝒏𝒈𝒆𝒍𝒔 𝑺𝒊𝒏𝒈, Glory to the new-born King…” they sang.
Many beautiful truths and countless Christmas traditions are even more powerful because they have been set to music.
We sing songs of praise, worship, and gladness as we recount the events of the glorious birth of Baby Jesus in Bethlehem.

Remember these inspiring Christmas carols…

“𝑱𝒐𝒚 𝒕𝒐 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑾𝒐𝒓𝒍𝒅, the Lord will come, and earth receive her King!”
“𝑶 𝑳𝒊𝒕𝒕𝒍𝒆 𝒕𝒐𝒘𝒏 𝒐𝒇 𝑩𝒆𝒕𝒉𝒍𝒆𝒉𝒆𝒎, How still we see thee lie”
“𝑶𝒉 𝒄𝒐𝒎𝒆 𝒂𝒍𝒍 𝒚𝒆 𝒇𝒂𝒊𝒕𝒉𝒇𝒖𝒍, Joyful and triumphant!”
“𝑨𝒏𝒈𝒆𝒍𝒔 𝒘𝒆 𝒉𝒂𝒗𝒆 𝒉𝒆𝒂𝒓𝒅 𝒐𝒏 𝒉𝒊𝒈𝒉, sweetly singing o’er the plains”
“𝑺𝒊𝒍𝒆𝒏𝒕 𝑵𝒊𝒈𝒉𝒕! 𝑯𝒐𝒍𝒚 𝑵𝒊𝒈𝒉𝒕! All is calm, all is bright”
“𝑨𝒘𝒂𝒚 𝒊𝒏 𝒂 𝑴𝒂𝒏𝒈𝒆𝒓, no crib for his bed”
“𝑭𝒂𝒓, 𝑭𝒂𝒓 𝑨𝒘𝒂𝒚 𝒐𝒏 𝑱𝒖𝒅𝒆𝒂’𝒔 𝑷𝒍𝒂𝒊𝒏𝒔, Shepherds of old heard the joyous strains”
The Lord has said that the songs of the righteous are prayers unto Him and they should be answered with blessings upon the heads of those who sing them. (D&C 25:12)
The missionaries singing, brought greater peace and harmony into our home.
There was even more…
As their sweet voices, elegant music and sacred words passed through our ears, they penetrated deeply into our hearts, drawing each of us closer to God.
It was beautiful.
What is it that brings such love and joy into our lives?
It is the Spirit of Christmas.
Drop the last syllable and that becomes the Spirit of Christ.
His spirit had just entered our hearts once more.
One of the greatest glories of Christmas is the knowledge that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, who came to earth to help us get His glory into our lives.
Enjoy singing many carols this Christmas Season – they are truly 𝐠𝐥𝐨𝐫𝐢𝐨𝐮𝐬!
What is your favourite Christmas Carol?

Patterns

That’s a 3-year-old me on the left, with my younger sister – both wearing cardigans knitted by my mum.
Throughout her life, mum used knitting patterns to create woollen wonders.
As a child I recall watching my mum knitting hats, socks, gloves, scarves, shawls, cardigans, jumpers and so forth! As she settled down to watch the television, she would inevitably pull out her latest knitting project – and off she went.
On a few occasions I’ve tried my hand at knitting.

Knitting

Mum gave me some pointers on casting on, and the appropriate techniques – but then I had to learn the pattern!
Have you ever tried reading a knitting pattern?
To the uninitiated, they can look like a foreign language, cast on 140 sts, knit 1, purl 1 repeat etc!
But to those who know – they are a sure pattern, followed precisely, will lead to success, each and every time. Indeed, their beauty is in their simplicity, if you understand the direction. Each pattern doesn’t just suddenly appear, it needs to be carefully considered, written and practised.
As we stand on the shoulders of those giants who have preceded us, who have lived by these patterns before, we soon realise that we can replicate success or failure depending upon the patterns of life we choose to live by.
Just as there are many thousands of well used knitting patterns, in a like manner, there are tried and tested “patterns for life” that once understood and emulated will always lead you to higher ground.
In fact, followed with exactness these patterns will always lead to success.
So what are these patterns and how do we follow them in our lives?
And by following them, what will we become?
Regarding the fundamental nature of our characters, Gordon B. Hinckley stated that; “The course of our lives is not determined by great, awesome decisions…….our direction is set by the little day-to-day choices which chart the track on which we run.
If we apply that maxim to our lives, we could say that we are the result of many small decisions.
In effect, we are the product of our choices. We must develop the capacity to recall the past, to evaluate the present, and to look into the future in order to accomplish in our lives.

Patterns for Life

Likewise I believe that we can succeed in life by following simple patterns.
1. 𝐃𝐨 𝐬𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐋𝐨𝐯𝐞. In your work and career choices, its a simple fact that if you do something that you love – then you will never work one day in your life. If you are currently following the wrong pattern – then perhaps you need a new one?
2. 𝐅𝐢𝐧𝐝 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐏𝐮𝐫𝐩𝐨𝐬𝐞. Take it one step at a time, for some it may take a lifetime to discover. But most importantly along the way, you need to apply pattern #1 – do something you love! That will help you to find your purpose and meaning in life and your work. Are you currently using the wrong-coloured wool and need a new yarn?
3. 𝐒𝐞𝐫𝐯𝐞 𝐎𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐬. Find out exactly who you can help and serve along the way. Follow the promptings of your heart and apply pattern #1 – give service through doing something you love! This will help you find even more joy in the journey. Perhaps you are using the wrong sized needles and you need some larger ones?
4. 𝐓𝐚𝐤𝐞 𝐀𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧. Choose to Act, and not be acted upon.
I know that our daily actions will determine our character. Take ownership of your own personal journey. What’s holding you back, is it perhaps that you have got stuck with a complicated part of your pattern? Why not seek out a personal coach to help you along the way? In turn they can help you to interpret the pattern for your life.
For me, I have witnessed a lifetime of beautiful woollen wonders created by mum and many others who can read the patterns.
In a like manner as we form our patterns for life, our life will be formed by those patterns.
Get yourself organised!!
Why not follow a new pattern, get some new yarn, some different needles for yourself, home and career today by knitting together some life changing habits – you won’t regret it!
𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐫𝐞𝐩𝐞𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐩𝐚𝐭𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐧𝐬 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐤𝐧𝐢𝐭𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐢𝐧𝐭𝐨 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐟𝐚𝐛𝐫𝐢𝐜 𝐨𝐟 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐥𝐢𝐟𝐞?

Sifting

“Would you like a hot chocolate?”

That’s a favourite phrase I use when missionaries arrive at the mission home for an overnight stay.

Each cup of hot chocolate is made with all the usual ingredients, but above all, it is filled with lots of love.

The most delicate part of the process is the 𝐬𝐢𝐟𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 of the chocolate powder, for the final touches, to make it perfect.

To 𝐬𝐢𝐟𝐭: “put a fine or loose substance through a sieve so as to remove lumps or large particles.”

“To make a close examination of all the parts of something in order to find something or to separate what is useful from what is not.”

At zone conferences last week, I commented on how we are all being “𝒔𝒊𝒇𝒕𝒆𝒅.”

In Luke 22:31-32, at the Last Supper, calling him by his given name, Jesus said…

31. “…Simon, Simon behold Satan hath desired to have you, that he may 𝐬𝐢𝐟𝐭 you as wheat.”

To 𝐬𝐢𝐟𝐭 as wheat means to sperate the good grain from the chaff.

In other words, “You’re going to be run through the 𝒔𝒊𝒇𝒕𝒆𝒓 Peter. Indeed, you’re going to find out what’s in you Peter.”

In essence, you’re going to be shaken up and bounced around and go through a tough ordeal.

Like Peter, that is especially true in the mission field, where we are all 𝒔𝒊𝒇𝒕𝒆𝒅 as wheat – daily!

The 𝐬𝐢𝐟𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 is done to refine us, and, in the process, we find out what we are made of, by discovering our many weaknesses.

Before that night was out, Peter had denied Christ three times.

32. “But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not; and when thou are converted, strengthen thy brethren.”

As Christ prayed for Peter, likewise many, many others pray on our behalf every single day, “that thy faith fail not.”

For example – mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, grandparents, church members and leaders, missionary companions, and many others of other faiths too, pray every day for you.

Throughout life, all of us will be 𝐬𝐢𝐟𝐭𝐞𝐝 and refined.

You will be shaken, stirred and cleansed to make the perfect you.

Yet, like Peter, I know that by following Jesus Christ, you will not fail.

How are you being 𝐬𝐢𝐟𝐭𝐞𝐝?

Discouraged?

𝐖𝐞 𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐛𝐨𝐫𝐧 𝐭𝐨 𝐛𝐞 𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐩𝐲 – 𝐫𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭?
Yet, sometimes life happens and it can be discouraging.
At times things we hope for and dream about just don’t turn out that way.
– the pay rise didn’t happen
– you didn’t get the expected exam grade
– the relationship you worked hard at didn’t work out
– you didn’t get the job
– the house purchase fell through
– redundancy became a reality
– ill health sets you back
– you just can’t understand that new language
– its just been a really tough day
When things don’t turn out the way you expected, then discouragement can settle into our minds and can make us feel sad.
None of us are immune from discouragement and especially in these difficult times, reality frequently does not conform to our wishes.
Discouragement does not have to mean defeat!
See it as it really is and don’t blow things up out of proportion.
Overcoming discouragement is absolutely critical for all of us if we are to bounce back and move forward in life.

So, what can you do?

First and foremost – you can change your attitude. Rather than focusing on what you can’t do, focus on what you can do.
Secondly, find something that you are good at right away, get on with it and dispel any negative self-talk, feelings or emotions that may be impacting upon you.
Thirdly – don’t compare yourself with others, remember you are on your own unique path in life.
Fourthly – turn to a friend.
Fifthly – count your many blessings, name them one by one.
Finally – pray about it, to understand and find the lesson.
“Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am” (Isaiah 58:9).
To receive comfort and guidance from our Father, we simply need to reach out to Him. I know He is always listening.
It is through the experience of disappointment and discouragement that great treasures and pearls of wisdom in life frequently appear.
What do you do when you feel discouraged?

Do you care?

Do you question your motives?
The crux of my personal philosophy in life, the nucleus of my personal motivation, is centred upon a core belief that “nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care” a phrase attributed to Theodore Roosevelt and crafted so purposely by him.
In thousands of coaching conversations, I have learned a little.
As you….
𝐋𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐧 𝐭𝐨 𝐮𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐝
𝐀𝐬𝐤 𝐦𝐞𝐚𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐟𝐮𝐥 𝐪𝐮𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬
𝐀𝐫𝐞 𝐠𝐞𝐧𝐮𝐢𝐧𝐞𝐥𝐲 𝐜𝐮𝐫𝐢𝐨𝐮𝐬
𝐄𝐱𝐩𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐩𝐮𝐫𝐞 𝐥𝐨𝐯𝐞
𝐘𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬, 𝐰𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐝𝐞𝐦𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐬𝐢𝐧𝐜𝐞𝐫𝐞𝐥𝐲 𝐜𝐚𝐫𝐞.
Showing interest in others is about being yourself,
being genuine
and sincere in your interest in another person.
𝐇𝐨𝐰 𝐃𝐨 𝐘𝐨𝐮 𝐒𝐡𝐨𝐰 𝐇𝐨𝐰 𝐌𝐮𝐜𝐡 𝐘𝐨𝐮 𝐂𝐚𝐫𝐞?

Who is your wise guide?

𝐖𝐡𝐨 𝐢𝐬 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐰𝐢𝐬𝐞 𝐠𝐮𝐢𝐝𝐞?
Harry Potter had Dumbledore and Hagrid…
Luke Skywalker had Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda…
Froda Baggins had Gandalf…
Mowgli had Bagheera…
With the development of each fictional character, a wise guide arrives in each of their life’s.
As they place their faith in their wise guide, ultimately, he supports them toward their destiny.
Unlike many fictional movie characters however, real life is another matter altogether.

The Wisest Guide of All

Personally, my faith is not founded upon imaginary characters and their guides, but upon the wisest guide of all, even Jesus Christ.
Wise guides are not only wise, but they are also guides.
Guides direct, instruct, lead, shepherd and show us the way.
In the scriptures, the admonition to “Come, follow me” is repeated several times.
Similar phrases such as, “Walk with me,” “Follow me,” “Come unto me,” are also used regularly.
It is a very simple, direct, and powerful invitation.
The decision to follow Him, is a very personal one, that many of us choose to make.
I love these words from Hymn 116.
“Come, follow me,” the Savior said.
Then let us in his footsteps tread,
For thus alone can we be one
With God’s own loved, begotten Son.
I am so grateful for the two missionaries who introduced the restored Gospel to my parents in 1961, and for the inspired choice they made to follow the wisest guide of all and in his footsteps tread.
In the chorus of “I Am a Child of God” (Hymn 301) we find the words “Lead me, guide me, walk beside me, help me find the way.”
It is through our daily prayers, that I know He will guide us, lead us, and walk beside us.
Are you searching for a wise guide in your life?
If so, may I respectively suggest that you consider listening to a powerful message that our missionaries have to share about the wisest guide of all.
How can a 𝐰𝐢𝐬𝐞 𝐠𝐮𝐢𝐝𝐞 help you find your way?

Are you wrestling?

Are you wrestling with something or someone?
Perhaps things are a little tense at the moment?
Recently I was asked “how do you deal with conflict President?”
One of my key goals is to ensure that as mission leaders we foster a mission culture of collaboration, encouragement, and unity.
Sounds simple enough, right?
But human beings are oftentimes far from simple!
Communication is strained, there are opposing positions, emotions run high – sound familiar?
And what happens if there are disagreements that impact relationships?
There are some simple things that we can do to overcome differences.
As a leader it is important to consider the following.

Top Tips

– Start with one-on-one conversations and get the full story by listening to understand.
Help each person do the important basic initial work at hand, namely – seeing the other person’s viewpoint, discerning their own emotions, and preparing for conversations to come.
——
– Ask purposeful, meaningful questions by starting a dialogue
It is helpful to ask questions that focus on the facts and also on their emotions. “What is going on for you right now?” or “What’s motivating you?”
To help foster mutual understanding , it is also useful to have each person take the other persons perspective. This in turn will help everyone to feel heard and empowered.
——
– Look forward – together
Once a little bit of clarity has started to evolve for each other, encourage each party to share what they have discussed with you as their leader.
In addition, remind them that they can work out their differences and find resolutions on their own by focussing on their relationship. Once the immediate disagreements are addressed, then make a plan to get everyone back on the same page.
——
Some other important things to remember.
• Use this opportunity to revisit agreed purpose and goals.
• Promote more interactions to create better cohesion.
• Don’t assume everyone knows what they’re supposed to be working on! Clarify each other’s roles so that people know exactly what is expected of them.
Compassion, empathy, finding common ground, forgiveness, kindness, being an active listener and above all, selfless service are key to build bridges to resolve any conflicts.
Finally, choosing to slow down and focus on what matters most – really helps!
How can you repair some broken bridges?

Where can you turn for peace?

𝐖𝐡𝐢𝐜𝐡 𝐯𝐨𝐢𝐜𝐞𝐬 𝐝𝐨 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐟𝐨𝐥𝐥𝐨𝐰?
“There are… so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification” the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 14:10.
There are indeed so many voices –
Voices that cry and plead with us to follow them.
Voices that deceive, threaten, and spread terror.
Voices that lull us into a false sense of security.
Voices that gossip.
Voices online, in magazines and newspapers, clamouring for attention, offering a maelstrom of advice.
Voices that promise us the world and happiness – if we will but enslave ourselves by the bondage of debt for a generation and for some a lifetime.
𝐁𝐞𝐰𝐚𝐫𝐞 of all these voices that clamour for your attention.
Are you distressed, perplexed or even fearful of these voices?
Is it time to shun the screaming of the headlines for a season?

Where can you turn for peace and tranquillity?

 

First – sever contact with the constant throb of the next alert on your mobile device.
Second – stop scrolling and set your mobile device aside.
Third – take a break from the daily global headlines and crisis of the world, which is in constant commotion.
Fourth – take a walk, enjoy nature and temporarily retreat into a different world.
Soon you’ll realise, like I have, that the troubles of the world are made by man and inflated by man.
If we could live kindly and appreciatively of one another, in peace, then all other problems would resolve themselves in the due course of time.
Maybe my suggestion is too simplistic.
Maybe, after all, I am just too simple?
After your walk and break it’ll be time to return.
Fifthly – For some, there is one voice above them all.
“The sheep hear his voice: … and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, … for they know not the voice of stranger” John 10:3-5
From among the multitude of voices we hear during our mortal life, we must recognise the voice of the Good Shepherd, even Jesus Christ, who calls us to follow Him toward our heavenly home.
His voice is sweet and pure.
I hope you find Him.
#HearHim

Prayer – an act of faith.

“𝐈𝐟 𝐥𝐢𝐟𝐞 𝐠𝐞𝐭𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐝, 𝐤𝐧𝐞𝐞𝐥” said Gordon B. Hinckley.

Prayer itself is an act of faith.

One of my favourite verses of scripture on prayer is found in the Book of Mormon, when Alma the Younger, is counselling his son Helaman…

“Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day” (Alma 37:37)

What a powerful verse about prayer, isn’t it?

And even more so that it’s counsel from a father to his son.

People of integrity say what they mean and mean what they say.

Answers come by submissively aligning our will, to God’s will.

God does not give us what we can handle; He helps us handle what we are given.

Throughout the scriptures the term fasting is frequently combined with prayer.

Sometimes we can forget the power of fasting. Yet it is a precious tool that allows us to change lives.

Fasting magnifies our ability to pray.

“Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” asked Paul in the book of Acts.

We should persistently ask that question in our daily prayers, in order to know what to do.

An act of Faith

As a Christian and as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I am so thankful for the powerful gift of prayer and commend it to all.

Hymns 140, the closing verse reads;

“Oh, how praying rests the weary!
Prayer will change the night to day.
So, when life gets dark and dreary,
Don’t forget to pray.”

I have found so much comfort and solace through prayer.

So can you.

Thomas S. Monson said, “Prayer is the passport to spiritual power.”

Why not commune with your Heavenly Father.

Remember, no one stands taller, than when they kneel in prayer…

Why not kneel in prayer to start your day – you won’t regret it!

Feeling Forgotten?

𝐃𝐨 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐟𝐞𝐞𝐥 𝐚𝐥𝐨𝐧𝐞?
I am comforted by Matthew 10:29, their the Lord said that not even a sparrow falls unnoticed by the Father.
If not one sparrow is forgotten before God (Luke 12:6), how much more will our Heavenly Father remember and want desperately to sustain you and me, for “ye are of more value than many sparrows” (Luke 12:7)
Sometimes I wonder if anyone really knows what we are going through, or for that matter if anyone really cares.
Occasionally that thought crosses my mind, but then I remember the story of Zacchæus from Luke 19:1-4, who simply wanted to see the Saviour.
You will recall that the crowd was large, so he decided to climb a sycamore tree, hoping that he’d see Jesus. “And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchæus, make haste, and come down; for today I must abide at thy house” (Luke 19:5)
The Saviour knew not only his name, but also knew his heart as well, see – Luke 19:6–9.
Zacchæus was a man who was reviled, rejected, and cast out by many. But the Saviour knew him. He knew his heart, and He loved him.
Jesus Christ came into the house of Zacchæus and into his heart.
I know and believe that our Lord Jesus Christ is just as aware of you and me, remembering our individual needs, just as He was of Zacchæus, or for that matter a tiny sparrow.
I believe He even knows us more personally and intimately than we know ourselves.
His eyes are not only on the sparrows, but on you and me – always.
I know that and know that you can know that too.
Jesus Christ does love us.
You are not alone.