Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Seeing Double??

On Sunday if you were there you might have been looking up on the stand and realized you were seeing two missionaries instead of one. That's right we are doing it all together! As we sat up on the stand we were discussing how nervous and excited we were to speak before we embark on this journey as missionaries. We would like to thank all of you that came! We cannot describe how thankful we are for the support and the love we have felt from all of you at this amazing time in our lives. As some might have not made it to hear us or for future times when you might miss our crazy loud voices we decided to put our talks on the blog! Once again we appreciate everything and can't wait to see you all once we get back! 

"Finding Gratitude in Our Everyday Lives"
For many years now I have looked forward to going on a mission and wow, I can’t even describe the emotions I am feeling. Thank you for coming and supporting Jackson and I as well as my family. For those who don’t know, I am serving in the Cusco Peru mission and I will be speaking Spanish. If you don’t know where it is just watch The Emperor’s New Groove and that is the exact place. I leave September 9 which is in a couple of weeks. For many days now I have been pondering about what to share and how I should share it. I hope and pray that all of you are open to the spirit and you pay attention to how you feel as you listen because in preparing this talk I have learned so much.  The topic that I am going to speak on today is gratitude in our everyday lives.
I will begin by sharing a quote by President Monson. He says
“This is a wonderful time to be on earth. While there is much that is wrong in the world today, there are many things that are right and good. There are marriages that make it, parents who love their children and sacrifice for them, friends who care about us and help us, teachers who teach. Our lives are blessed in countless ways."
I have found in my life that when I focus on the positive I feel so much happier and I want to pass it on to others because I know life is never bearable without feeling joy. I had a friend in my nursing program always tell me that you have to find something to make yourself laugh or to crack yourself up each day. That was perfect advice for me because let me tell you, there were some days in nursing school that I had to get creative. I won’t go into detail about what I went through and the “hard” things that I faced because in reality we all go through hard things. We all have trials no matter how big or small that we have to work through. We are all different and maybe something hard for me is easy for someone else so no matter the heartache, no matter the trial it does matter, and it is hard for that person.  President Uchtdorf said “It might sound contrary to the wisdom of the world to suggest that one who is burdened with sorrow should give thanks to God. But those who set aside the bottle of bitterness and lift instead the goblet of gratitude can find a purifying drink of healing, peace, and understanding."
This is why I want to share these words with you because finding joy in the journey despite what circumstance we are in is possible. It is possible to be grateful each day no matter what you are going through. Living with gratitude each day brings blessings. I know that.
The first thing I have found is that we have to create an “attitude of gratitude”. But how so?
President Uchtdorf says we need to be grateful IN our circumstances. He goes onto say “Could I suggest that we see gratitude as a disposition, a way of life that stands independent of our current situation? In other words, I’m suggesting that instead of being thankful for things, we focus on being thankful in our circumstances—whatever they may be."
This type of gratitude transcends whatever is happening around us. It surpasses disappointment, discouragement, and despair. It blooms just as beautifully in the icy landscape of winter as it does in the pleasant warmth of summer.
In a familiar song it says to be grateful even among hard times. The lyrics read
When upon life's billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings; name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.

Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings; ev'ry doubt will fly,
And you will be singing as the days go by.

So amid the conflict, whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged; God is over all.
Count your many blessings; angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey's end.

I sometimes thought that we could only be grateful when trying times are over or all of our problems are solved. But how wrong this is. I remember thinking, oh I will be SO THANKFUL WHEN NURSING SCHOOL IS OVER!! Well now that it is there is so many things I could say like... I will be so thankful when I am on my mission, or I am grateful when I can lose 20 more pounds, or I am thankful when I am finally married and have nothing to worry about. Oh how wrong that is and I am sure so many of you can a-test to that.
Sometimes we try to find happiness out of material things. Steven R. Snow said “It is human nature, I suppose, to seek elsewhere for our happiness. Pursuit of career goals, wealth, and material rewards can cloud our perspective and often leads to a lack of appreciation for the bounteous blessings of our present circumstances.
President Monson also said “Do material possessions make us happy and grateful? Perhaps momentarily. However, those things which provide deep and lasting happiness and gratitude are the things which money cannot buy: our families, the gospel, good friends, our health, our abilities, the love we receive from those around us. Unfortunately, these are some of the things we allow ourselves to take for granted.”
Life will never be perfect and there will always be something we can find wrong or that isn’t good enough. If we are constantly focusing on being grateful after the fact, when will we ever be happy?  I remember the night that I found out I passed my boards for nursing. Yes, I was extremely grateful in that moment, but I realized it was because of the journey. It sounds so cliché but as I realized it was in the moments that I reflected on how thankful I was to pass a test, master a skill, place an IV, memorize a medication, or talk with a classmate. President Uchdtorf said  “How much of life do we miss by waiting to see the rainbow before thanking God that there is rain?"
We, by being grateful can live happier and healthier lives as well as help others do this. President Monson said “We can lift ourselves and others as well when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude. If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues. Someone has said that “gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.”

One of the most important aspects of developing an attitude of gratitude or being grateful each day is through a very simple but easy act. It is prayer.
Robert D. Hales said, “Through expression of prayerful gratitude and thanksgiving, we show our dependence upon a higher source of wisdom and knowledge—God the Father and his Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We are taught to “live in thanksgiving daily.”
We are commanded to be grateful. In Alma 34:38 it states “…. that ye live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you.” Also in Alma 37:37 it states: 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.
Elder Hales goes on to say that “Gratitude expressed to our Heavenly Father in prayer for what we have brings a calming peace—a peace which allows us to not canker our souls for what we don’t have. Gratitude brings a peace that helps us overcome the pain of adversity and failure. Gratitude on a daily basis means we express appreciation for what we have now without qualification for what we had in the past or desire in the future. A recognition of and appreciation for our gifts and talents which have been given also allows us to acknowledge the need for help and assistance from the gifts and talents possessed by others."
It is not always easy to be grateful. Just as I mentioned earlier life can be hard. But I know that if we are making a sincere effort to develop this attitude of gratitude he will bless us immensely.
 I remember the day when my Mom told me about her gratitude journal. It seemed really cliche and I really didn't think anything about doing it until I was a few weeks into my nursing program and then it became my lifesaver for the next few years. It was very simple but if mastered would create a constant reminder to be thankful. It was to write 5 things down that day I was grateful for despite how the day turned out. I can tell you there was one particular day I threw my journal at the wall because I felt so ungrateful and apparently angry because “life wasn't going the way I thought.”  It was definitely a rough day. But in the end I will look back and even though I laugh about some of the things I wrote...like what I ate, or things that “didn’t” happen or go wrong, it still helped me understand how precious life is and also how much worse my life could be in that moment.
Another way to be grateful each day is to express your gratitude and appreciation to those around you. If anyone is good at this it is my Mom. I can’t tell you how many sticky notes I found, how many letters sent in the mail, texts she would send, or voicemails I have had throughout my life of her telling me how much she loves me and how grateful she is to be my Mom. Recently my great-grandma died and I came to understand how important it is to express gratitude for those things that others do for you especially your family members. It came to a point that my grandma was on life support and soon to be taken off and to return to the next life. As I was able to talk with her, knowing it would be the last time I would see her in this life, I thought to myself… Did I ever tell her how good she was to talk with me about school, or how amazing her cooking was, or how much she taught her posterity how to love no matter what happens in this life? President Monson said “We often take for granted the very people who most deserve our gratitude. Let us not wait until it is too late for us to express that gratitude... The loss of loved ones almost inevitably brings some regrets to our hearts. Let’s minimize such feelings as much as humanly possible by frequently expressing our love and gratitude to them. We never know how soon it will be too late.”
Julia was a dear friend I made this summer at EFY who taught me one principle that was so inspiring to me. She had an alarm set on her phone to go off at the same time each day. I remember seeing the alarm going off and me asking what it was for. She went onto explain that she calls or texts someone that she is grateful for or who needs to know they are loved. I didn’t really think she did this until about 3 weeks later I got a phone call from her. She was calling to tell me how thankful she was to be able to share her love for Peru with me and how excited she was that I was going to the same place she served her mission a few years back. She helped me understand the importance of living in gratitude daily and how it can touch other people’s lives.
President Joseph F. Smith said it the best when he stated “the spirit of gratitude is always pleasant and satisfying because it carries with it a sense of helpfulness to others; it begets love and friendship, and engenders divine influence. Gratitude is said to be the memory of the heart”.
As I will be a missionary I will be declaring the doctrines of Jesus Christ to people in Peru. I am going to be teaching them ways to come unto Christ, to be baptized, and find joy in living this gospel. I will be teaching them not only why, but how they should do this. I believe that through gratitude we become humble and if we are humble we find ourselves wanting to repent and come unto the savior.
At the end of President Uchtdorfs talk he spoke about the apostles feelings of despair and grief after the savior was crucified, and how they were unable to understand what happened. But one event all changed that.
He quoted “When the Apostles recognized the risen Christ—when they experienced the glorious Resurrection of their beloved Savior—they became different men. Nothing could keep them from fulfilling their mission. They accepted with courage and determination the torture, humiliation, and even death that would come to them because of their testimony. They were not deterred from praising and serving their Lord. They changed the lives of people everywhere. They changed the world."
I believe as a missionary I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I am a witness of his life and his teachings. I am a different person and because of this testimony which I have of him I am going to serve. I know that my mission is not going to be easy. I know at times I will feel humiliated, and even sometimes defeated. But because I am willing and because I have a desire to serve the Lord I hope that I can change lives in Peru. I don’t believe it will go as far as changing the world, but if I can be an instrument to the Lord and bringing a small portion of those people to the gospel of Jesus Christ I am willing and ready to go.

My uncles will be singing a song that is a tradition in our family but just as the lyrics say I will be standing for what is right. I will be defending what I know to be true because I know that Heavenly Father will help us all win in the end.

As President Uchtdorf said “True gratitude is an expression of hope and testimony. It comes from acknowledging that we do not always understand the trials of life but trusting that one day we will.

I know that through faith on the Lord Jesus Christ and following his commandments, including being thankful each day, we will one day understand it all.
I know this church is true.
I know that through hard work and patience I will come to feel the love the Lord has for the people in Peru and I am so excited to share that with them.
I know the Book of Mormon is true and by reading it and following its teachings we are able to come closer to our Savior.
I know Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon so that we can have it here, tangible and readable to share with others.
I know that one day we will return to our Father and with open arms he will be there to welcome us into his presence.
“My brothers and sisters, to express gratitude is gracious and honorable, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live with gratitude ever in our hearts is to touch heaven.”

The Infinite Power of Prayer
Hello Brothers and Sisters. Thank you all very much for coming. I’m Elder Jackson Frame and I’m going to serve in the California Fresno mission speaking Spanish.
To start off my talk I’m want to give all of you an out of body experience and make you all feel insignificant.
I want all of you to close your eyes.  Imagine you are floating near the ceiling looking down at your body sitting watching me talk.  You notice the 200 people give or take who are in the crowd. You are sitting on your row by people you know listening to me talk. Now zoom out.  You are looking at the church and surrounding neighborhoods of about a few thousand people. You are a dot on the church sitting in your row listening to me talk.  Zoom out again. You are looking at the whole of Spanish Fork.  You are one of 37,000 on the map of Spanish Fork in this neighborhood, in this church, sitting in your row, listening to me talk.  Zoom out again.  You are looking at the Earth, slowly rotating on it’s axis.  You are one of 7,046,000,000 people on the earth, a dot on North America, in Utah in Spanish Fork in this church, sitting on your row, watching me talk.  Zoom out.  You are looking at our solar system. The sun giving light to all of the planets rotating around it. If you look closely you can see the moon orbiting the earth. Looking closer you see yourself; a dot on earth, in North America, in the state of Utah, in a church, sitting in your row, watching me talk.  Zoom out.  You are looking at the milky way galaxy.  Billions upon billions of stars swirling around a central point.  You are a dot on the inner circle of the Milky Way galaxy of 100 billion solar systems that may also contain life, in our solar system on earth in North America, in Utah, in Spanish Fork, in a church, sitting in your row, listening to me talk right now.  Zoom out one last time.  There are 150 billion other galaxies, give or take, just like ours, all with 100 billion or more solar systems of their own.  You are a very minute dot in the Milky way galaxy, in our sun’s solar system, on earth, on North America, in Spanish Fork Utah, in a church sitting in your row listening to me talk right now.  Feel insignificant yet?
                My ultimate goal today is not to make you feel insignificant, but to help you feel of the eternal love of our Heavenly Father and of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ for each of you individually.  And what better way is there to feel the love of our Heavenly Father than getting to know him through personal and private conversations?  Richard G. Scott says it beautifully.

“Think of it: the absolute Supreme Being, the most all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful personage, encourages you and me as insignificant as we are, to converse with Him as our Father.”

                And that is the very first thing you must understand about prayer. You are praying to your actual Father.  God, our Heavenly Father, is our spiritual father.  All of our spirits came from him.  You and all of us are a literal child of God.  He wants only the absolute best for you. He wants you to live in such a way that you can return to be with him forever.  When you understand this, prayer takes on a whole new meaning.  You are communicating with the person who loves you most and he is thrilled that you are taking time to talk to him.  He wants to guide you, but if you aren’t seeking guidance then how is he supposed to help?
                How do you pray?  I know almost all of you have learned how to pray and have been saying prayers since you were a little kid, but a refresher course never hurts.  We pray to our Heavenly Father in the name of his son Jesus Christ.  You can pray anytime and anywhere but I will be talking about personal and private conversations between you and Heavenly Father.  To start, seeing as you are talking to God it is done in the most humble way you can: on your knees, head bowed and eyes closed with your arms folded.  This shows your Heavenly Father that you are ready and willing to  listen and act on his answer.  Before you can have an answer you need a question or petition. Knowing what you want to ask or ask for from God will help you form your words and phrases when you say it.  You will start with addressing your Heavenly Father and then ask your question or ask for what you or others may be in need of.  Remember that as you pray you are talking to your loving Father and he doesn’t care how bad it may sound or how confusing your prayer may be.  He understands you and what you are trying to say perfectly.        Richard G. Scott says it like this:

“Don’t worry about your clumsily expressed feelings.  Just talk to your compassionate, understanding Father.  You are His precious child whom He loves perfectly and wants to help.  As you pray, recognize that Father in Heaven is near and He is listening.”

                Now that we’ve talked about how to pray, what do you pray about?  You might have a question that google can’t answer, a hard decision your mom can’t make for you, or problem that no matter what you do, cannot be resolved.  This is where an all-powerful dad comes in handy.  Heavenly Father knows what is best for each and every one of us.  As we ask for guidance in our decisions, answers to our questions or problems, we can rest easy knowing that he WILL answer in his time that will be best for us. 
Maybe you just need somebody to talk to.  I do this a lot.  I once had a very frustrating day.  Nothing went the way I planned.  I dropped the book I was reading in a slush puddle, I was hit in the face by a snowball and got a bloody nose, I was in the deepest part of self-pity party land.  After going to work and getting home around 12 at night I still had homework to do.  At about 2:30 I finished my homework and went to go to bed.  As my head hit the pillow, I remembered I hadn’t yet prayed that night.  I knelt down and out loud proceeded to tell Heavenly Father about my superbly rotten day.  I told him that I didn’t think it was fair that my life sucked.  I told him about my trials that I was struggling so hard to overcome.  I didn’t ask for anything I just talked to him. After getting all my feelings and frustrations out, I closed in the name of Jesus Christ.  I sat there feeling empty.  As I got up to get back into bed, I was filled with unmistakable warmth all across my body.  I felt as if I were 20 pounds lighter.  I laid there and basked in what I knew was Heavenly Father’s love for me and fell asleep with his love still burning inside of me.  I know he was letting me know that he loved me.  He let me know that he knows me perfectly and loves me individually because I decided to talk to him as a friend and father.
After talking to him about yourself and your needs remember others who might need help and talk to Heavenly Father about them and their needs.
The last thing you should always remember to put into your prayer is gratitude to Heavenly Father and especially his Son, Jesus Christ for making it possible to live again and be forgiven of our sins.  When we think about his sacrifice for each and every single one of us we feel honest appreciation and thanks.  So shouldn’t we continually and always thank our Heavenly Father for everything that he has done for us and given to us?
                Okay so you’ve knelt down, prayed asking for direction, asking for blessings for others, and thanked Heavenly Father and closed in Christ’s name.  Now what?  Now you will be answered.  Simple as that.  It may not be an immediate answer or the answer you expect or want, but you will, without doubt, receive an answer nonetheless.  President David O. McKay testified:
“It is true that the answers to our prayers may not always come as direct and at the time, nor in the manner, we anticipate; but they do come, and at a time and in a manner best for the interests of him who offers the supplication.”
We are taught about this in D&C 88:64:
“Whatsoever ye ask the Father in my name it shall be given unto you, that it is expedient for you.”
A lot of times it is hard for us to recognize what is best or expedient for us over time.  The Lord knows what will do us the greatest good over time.  When we learn to trust his judgment when we get an answer we know he is helping us choose what will be best for us eternally.
In Doctrine and Covenants it also tells us that we must look for the answer to our prayers.  Heavenly Father helps us learn and grow as we do this.   Go over the problem or question again. His answer might be to give you more insight or help.  He might send somebody your way to be your answer or it might be an impression from the Holy Ghost.
When you are facing a tough decision Richard G. Scott teaches three ways our prayers will be answered that I found very helpful.  The first is “you can feel the peace, comfort, and assurance that confirm that your decision is right.  Or second, you can sense that unsettled feeling, the stupor of thought, indicating that your choice is wrong.  Or third--- and this is the difficult one--- you feel no response.  What do you do when you have prepared carefully, have prayed fervently, waited a reasonable time for a response, and still do not feel an answer?  You may want to express thanks when that occurs, for it is an evidence of His trust.  When you are living worthily and your choice is consistent with the Savior’s teachings and you need to act, proceed with trust.  As you are sensitive to the promptings of the Spirit, one of two things will certainly occur at the appropriate time; either the stupor of thought will come, indicating an improper choice, or the peace or the burning in the bosom will be felt, confirming that your choice was correct.  When you are living righteously and are acting with trust, God will not let you proceed too far without a warning impression if you have made the wrong decision.”
                When you get your answer ,as you undoubtedly will, remember to thank the Lord for his answer and for the opportunities it gave you to grow.
                Once you understand all of these components of a prayer Richard G. Scott gives us a way to better improve our prayers.
“A key to improved prayer is to learn to ask the right questions. Consider changing from asking for the things you want to honestly seeking what He wants for you.  Then as you learn His will, pray that you will be led to have the strength to fulfill it.”
Here is an analogy that deals with light waves that helped me to understand this better. 
Light is transmitted in electromagnetic waves of varying frequencies. Most light sources (e.g. the sun, a light bulb) emit a wide spectrum of frequencies, meaning the frequencies are not in sync with each other. This creates “white light.”
In the early 1960’s scientist discovered a way to get these frequencies in sync with each other. They discovered that when they did this, the power of the light was greatly amplified. It creates a laser beam.
While white light bounces off solid objects, light waves of a certain high frequency that are in sync with each other – laser beams – can burn through diamonds!
Now, we can think of God’s will and human will as light waves. To the extent that our will is out of sync with God’s will, so the power available to affect God’s will on earth is compromised.
When you get your will in sync with God’s will, it’s like light waves coming into sync with each other, and a divine laser beam is created. There is now a power to burn through all that resists God’s will, and we become a greater instrument in the hand of God.
By God’s own design, communicating with God, or prayer, is the act of aligning our will with God’s will. In prayer, we are creating laser beams from heaven. God’s power is being unleashed in the world in ways it would otherwise not be unleashed.

I testify to all of you here today that personal prayer will bring you closer to your Heavenly Father and as you become closer to your Heavenly Father, you will feel of his love and concern for your eternal welfare more acutely.  I also testify that you are sons and daughters of a Heavenly Father that knows each you individually.  You can call on him, an all seeing and all-knowing God, anytime and anywhere you need. You all have the potential to become like him someday.  Feel insignificant now?

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