Stories of Jesus: Study the life of Christ in 55 days

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Just before Christmas, I had a strong desire to focus more on the life of Jesus Christ, so we started reading the New Testament during family scripture study time. I specifically wanted to read both the happenings and the teachings of His life, with the goal that my children will know Him better, but I wasn’t sure how to go about it in a comprehensive way. I searched long and hard for study guides that had a complete chronology, but I didn’t find anything satisfactory–everything was thematic or out of order or excluded key stories. So, I printed out several of them, laid them out side-by-side, looked at notes in my own Bible, relied heavily on this Harmony of the Gospels tool, and created my own. It took a looooong time, so I want to share it in hopes that it can be an easy, ready resource for families to study the gospels in the New Testament. Continue reading

“When saw we thee a stranger?”

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If you browse through the archives of my blog, including the past seven years on my older blog, you will not find any political posts. Not one. You would, however, find a bucket-load of posts about my testimony of following the counsel of living prophets. So with that in mind, I’d like to attempt a commentary upon recent prophetic direction, with the cautious understanding that the issue at hand is very political to some.

Since the scriptures lay out very clear, dismal prophecies about the state of our world in the years leading up to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, the current events involving war and terror and the failing hearts of men should not be a great surprise to us. The news is sad and shocking, to be sure, but not unexpected. One of the somber results of these events is the ongoing crisis of refugees–individuals who are fleeing war-ravaged and dangerous homelands in search of safety and some measure of peace. Their stories and suffering are heartbreaking.

In fact, a recent letter from the First Presidency states,

“It is with great concern and compassion that we observe the plight of the millions of people around the world who have fled their homes seeking relief from civil conflict and other hardships.”

That same letter encourages members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to make donations to the Church Humanitarian Fund, which will be used to aid refugees throughout the world, and also asks members to “participate in local relief projects, where practical”(emphasis added). I cannot find anything in their statement that makes any distinction about the religion of said refugees. Continue reading

Roles, Revelation, and Grace

Twenty years ago this month, President Gordon B. Hinckley presented “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” for the first time. To celebrate, a handful bloggers are hosting two weeks of posts about the doctrine of the family. [More info here.]

I was invited to contribute as a guest blogger, so I slipped out of my writing sabbatical and hit the keyboard with my testimony of personal revelation and grace in helping me find my own place in God’s plan. I addressed how sometimes our own reality is at odds with prophetic counsel regarding family, but peace and confidence can come as we understand the doctrine and seek Heavenly Father’s will for us personally. You can find the post here: http://www.cranialhiccups.com/2015/09/roles-revelation-and-grace.html

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A tribute: the life and testimony of President Boyd K. Packer

When an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ passes away, it feels like the loss of a friend. These are men who have uplifted us and brought light into our lives through testimony and example. President Boyd K. Packer passed away on July 3, 2015 after serving as an an apostle in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for more than 45 years. I have studied his life and a large body of his teachings and I want to share some of my favorite things about him; this is his legacy that will live on in me as I continue on my own journey of discipleship.

President Packer came into his testimony of the gospel while he served as a fighter pilot in World War II. He studied the Book of Mormon purposefully for the first time and began to truly believe its divine message. I appreciate what he taught about answers and testimony sometimes coming slowly. He has taught me to trust in good feelings and be patient for clarity and answers to come.

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I also love his testimony of the scriptures. Elder Nelson once commented on how much Elder Packer’s knowledge of the scriptures has influenced the direction of the church. When the Quorum of the Twelve has weighed out problems and issues in their councils, he has searched his mind for relevant teachings from the Book of Mormon and shared them with the Brethren.  “Without the Book of Mormon,” Elder Nelson said, “Elder Packer couldn’t be the prophet he is. Continue reading

The best of Elder L. Tom Perry

Tom11Like many others, I was sad to hear of the passing of Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. My children were sad, too, but recognized that a 92-year-old man—especially a man as good as him—was probably well prepared to make his way to heaven. I don’t dare to pretend that I have any connection with Elder Perry that is more special than anyone else’s, but I’ve studied carefully the lives of the apostles as I’ve taught Living Prophets for the last few years and I have grown to love each one. They feel like family because I learn so much from them and admire their lives and their teachings;  they hold a place in my heart because the things I’ve learned from them are a part of who I am becoming and what I know to be true.

Hundreds of people have posted their own experiences of meeting Elder Perry or shaking his hand, and they all witness of his kindness and encouragement. Elder Perry happens to be the only apostle I have spent some time with in person, and I had a couple experiences that are pretty unique. Namely, 1) we made chili together Continue reading

The learning curve

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One thing about parenting is that you just never really get it. Each season of childhood presents new struggles and new puzzles to be solved. As soon as you feel like you have a handle on the challenges at hand, they change. New ages, new stages, new problems—new realizations about your own inadequacy as a parent. Perhaps that is the whole point of parenting… to be constantly humbled over and over again as we acknowledge before God that we have no idea what we are doing and desperately need His help.

Let me just cut to the chase. I have an anger problem. It’s something I’ve struggled with ever since my little boys were toddlers and unwittingly did things that exasperated me. Once, as a flustered young mother, I marched myself up to the Barnes & Noble Help Desk and asked the unsuspecting clerk Continue reading

Third time’s the charm?

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I blogged for about a year in 2008 and then my blog disappeared. Truly. Trust me, it was tragic.

Then I blogged for about 5 more years at Diapers and Divinity and, man, that was good times.

But then my kids weren’t in diapers anymore, and I had begun writing books and teaching college classes part-time, so the blog fizzled and it was time to do something else for a while.

Now, I’m taking a break from teaching and I feel like I need a place for my words again. I’m dabbling in new book ideas, and sometimes I have more to say (or process) than there’s room for Continue reading