Thursday, October 5, 2017

theron and emily's sealing ♥


"for the temple is a holy place, where we are sealed together...
as a child of god, i've learned this truth,
a family is forever."


today we had the joy of being there as theron and emily were sealed for time and all eternity. one of the most wonderful parts of being a member of the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints is having the knowledge that once we are married in the temple we are able to be with our spouse and children for not only this life, but whatever comes after. it was a truly perfect day, not a cloud in the sky and there was so much love in the room as they promised to love each other forever surrounded by family and friends.


each time i have attended a temple wedding or a temple sealing (meaning we are "sealed" together) it has given me an opportunity to think back on my own, almost twelve years ago, still the greatest blessing of my life. i know there are difficult days, but the promise of eternity makes it worth the effort.


it was beautiful to be able to take the children with us today too (big thanks to those who chased them around the gardens). i love knowing that they are growing up with the temple in their sights. they know that family and friends have been and will be married there, and they know it's somewhere they want to be. i can't wait until they can come inside with us.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

jungle park!



we live in one of the suburbs in the ellenbrook area, where housing is plentiful and backyards are small. i was so hesitant to buy our house, because of the teeny backyard... but my husband dutifully pointed out that we had a huge garden, the park directly across the road from us. it's true. backyards are mostly small, but there is a park on almost every block. they are everywhere!

there are of course, some bigger ones with fancy as play equipment... and a few weeks back one of those opened just by dougs parents house. we finally got to go there today with the pinker crew and even though it was freeeeezing outside with an arctic wind and the sun made an appearance for approximately 8.73 seconds the entire time we were there, the kids had a great time. they climbed the jungle tower to the big slide (i must admit my heart was in my mouth watching my little joseph doing it) and once they got to the top (it's very high!) madeline without being asked, quickly sat behind joseph and held onto him as they went down. i was so proud of her, she's such a good big sister!

life in ellenbrook is good. the days and flying by and we are loving every one ♥

Sunday, October 1, 2017

sustaining our leaders: a relief society lesson


the first sunday of each month brings a lesson taught by a member of the ward relief society presidency. we choose the topic ourselves, trying to think of a subject relative to the sisters in our ward, something we hope they may personally benefit from. i felt inspired during our most recent stake conference to speak about sustaining our leaders (might have been somewhat brought on seeing as a new stake presidency was announced) so here we are. here's the lesson i gave today... i hope it may be beneficial to someone reading ♥

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I felt particularly inspired during the final talk of stake conference to focus my lesson today on sustaining our church leaders.

Let’s begin today by making a list of words that mean the same thing as sustain:
(These were all written on the whiteboard, examples included: 
uphold, comforthelpassistencouragesuccoursupport, give strength to, be a source of strength to, be a tower of strength to, buoy up, carry, cheer up, hearten, see someone through, undergo, suffer, bear, support, stand, keep up, prop up, shore up, bolsterunderpin…)

Pretty much every Sunday a member of the bishopric reads out callings and releasings at the beginning of our sacrament meeting. We raise our hands to sustain someone who has just received a new calling. Most of the time it’s an automatic reaction. Some Sundays we may not even really listen to the names of the people we are sustaining. It’s simply part of our Sacrament Meeting routine. Despite this failing on our part, it is actually a very sacred action and one we need to do with a thoughtful and prayerful heart. It is a critical motion with eternal consequences and it comes with responsibilities.

READING 1: “It is a serious wrong in the presence of the Almighty for one to vote to sustain the authorities of the Church and then to go away and oppose them and trample under foot the counsels that they give; and we will be judged of the Lord for it (President Joseph F. Smith, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, 1998, 218–19).

So when we raise our hand to sustain someone, whether it is the nursery leader or the prophet, what are we really doing? We are not voting. We don’t get to choose who will serve in the calling. That was already prayerfully taken to the Lord by the person who had the authority to do so. We are, instead, agreeing to accept callings or assignments from them if they are in a position to offer them, to help them in any way we can. Our sustaining is a vote of confidence in the person. We are promising to support them in their work and (something I think we should all remember) to speak well of them. We are committing ourselves to accepting that their call came from God.

READING 2: Sister Terrie Bittner, author of “What Does It Mean to Sustain our Leaders” on the website Mormon Women Stand, said that this truth was brought home for her, one day when she called and asked someone to substitute for her in Primary. This sister admitted that teaching Primary was not her favourite thing, but that she had raised her hand to sustain her when she was called, and so, accepting my request for help was part of the promise she had made to God that day. She substituted and worked hard to give the class a wonderful experience. She then went on to say, “ I wondered then if I had ever worked so hard to carry out my covenant to sustain someone in a calling. I believe that is what sustaining someone is—a covenant with God.”

That is something we would all do well to remember when we are extended an assignment or asked to assist with a lesson, an activity or simply just to attend those lessons or activities that people have put so much effort into.

READING 3: “It is an important duty resting upon the Saints who … sustain the authorities of the Church, to do so not only by the lifting of the hand, the mere form, but in deed and in truth.” This statement was made in 1898, when President Smith was Second Counsellor in the First Presidency. (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith (1998), 211.)

READING 4: "No person is to be ordained to any office in this church, where there is a regularly organized branch of the same, without the vote of that church." (Doctrine & Covenants 20:65)

We have an opportunity to sustain—support, help, pray for—each of these people in their callings. We indicate our willingness to do so by raising our right hands when their names are read to us in general conference, stake conference, ward or branch conference, or sacrament meeting. Raising our hands is a sign to us, to them, and to the Lord that we will sustain them.

Do any of you recall watching General Conference in April 2015, when during the Saturday Afternoon Session of Conference during the sustaining of the church officers, several members stood and loudly opposed our first presidency? How did it make you feel? I DO remember it well and I felt sick to my stomach. I remember saying angrily to my husband, how could someone do that? How dare they? Why bother going to conference if you don’t agree with them? That’s the whole POINT of going to conference, to listen to them!

Mormons, like everyone else, are opinionated people. We will often have more experience than the person called to lead. We sometimes have personal beliefs that cause us to want things to be done differently than they are. However, once God has approved a calling, we are expected to become humble followers of this person. While this may seem hard or short-sighted, we will someday be the one who is sustained into a calling we are less qualified for. Then we will hope others will be patient and supportive during our time.

Jesus taught us to treat others the way we ourselves want to be treated. The Church is not like the world. We don’t always fill our positions with the most qualified person. (Although with modern politics you have to wonder!) Often the person in the calling is there because there is something he can learn from it. Other times he is there because there is a specific situation or person he can best help, even if he’s less qualified for other parts of the work.

God moves us around to various callings in order to help us grow. We are called to sustain them, whether or not we think they are qualified. God calls; God qualifies. Sustaining people is a covenant we make at the local level. It is also a covenant when we sustain the prophet and the apostles. We covenanted in the waters of baptism and in the temple to follow Jesus Christ and God, and we covenanted to follow the prophet as the Lord’s mouthpiece in our time. To do anything less is to violate our sacred covenants. To do anything less is to decide God made a mistake—and God never makes mistakes.

READING 5: “When we sustain the President of the Church by our uplifted hand, it not only signifies that we acknowledge before God that he is the rightful possessor of all the priesthood keys; it means that we covenant with God that we will abide by the direction and the counsel that comes through His prophet. It is a solemn covenant” (David B. Haight, Solemn Assemblies, Ensign, Nov. 1994, 14–15).
To do otherwise is dangerous. Joseph F. Smith said: “Men may become dissatisfied one with another, they may become dissatisfied towards the Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve, or others, and may say in their hearts, “I do not like such an one; I do not believe he is as good as he should be, he has too many faults and weaknesses and, therefore, I cannot and will not acknowledge his authority, as I have not faith in the man.” Doubtless there are those, too many perhaps, who feel that way, but the trouble is, … just because they have become dissatisfied with the individual and harboured feelings of bitterness in their hearts against their brethren, they lose sight of the designs of the Almighty; they turn against the authority of the Holy Priesthood; and through their blindness allow themselves to be led astray, and at last turn away from the Church.”

One of the temple recommend questions is “Do you sustain the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the Prophet, Seer, and Revelator and as the only person on the earth who possesses and is authorized to exercise all priesthood keys? Do you sustain members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators? Do you sustain the other General Authorities and local authorities of the Church? Please note that it includes local authorities. So whether we agree with their decisions or not, we must accept them and remember these men (and women!) have been called of the Lord and are his mouthpiece. What it all comes down to for me, is “Is the church true?” Of course it is! Then we are safe in the care of our leaders, because they Lord picked them.

You might not like someone that is called to a position in the gospel, especially a position of authority, but you should sustain them anyway. For those of you who attended the most recent stake conference, you would have heard in one of the testimonies, that when our last stake president was called one of the bishops had said, I don’t like the way he talks! He then went out of his way to get to know him better, had them over for dinner. How many times have we said we don’t like someone before getting to know them. I know I am terrible for that… We can do the same, get to know someone and close that gap.

READING 6: Doctrine and Covenants 1:38 warns: “Whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.” There is so much safety in knowing God has provided us with a prophet to get through the last days of the world. It is one of His gifts of love to our children and our willingness to follow the prophet he has chosen is our message of how much we love and trust God. It is our testimony in action—and a testimony that is words without action does not have the power to bring us back home to God.

Whom the Lord calls, the Lord qualifies. Those who he calls are blessed to have the right words, so long as they remain worthy to receive them. They are able to open their mouth and speak the words that the Lord wants them to speak. Joseph Smith said on more than one occasion that he was not mighty in words but the Lord promised him, as recorded in the doctrine and covenants: "It shall be given you in the very moment what you shall speak and what you shall write." There is no recorded evidence that he ever spoke from a prepared text!, something else we learnt during stake conference.

I'd like for once to share a rather personal experience. I was called as the ward relief society president just 18 months ago. I was 32 years old. I always assumed the RSP was someone in their 40s or 50s, or even older, not someone my age! In fact, at first I was convinced that my husband and bishop had set me up for a joke. When beautiful Sister Evans, our stake RSP sat with me, I said. I can't do this. I'm so awkward. I always say the wrong thing at the wrong time. Her words were simple but perfect. “If you do the right thing and pray for the right words, you can open your mouth and they will come. And you can be assured that they will always be the right words.” I don’t think I’ve become any less awkward, but the words have come.

READING 7: President Eyring shared a beautiful story about one young man's example of sustaining his Church leaders: Years ago an 18-year-old student showed me what it means to sustain the Lord’s servants. I am still blessed by his humble example. He had just begun his first year in college. He was baptized less than a year before he left home to begin his studies at a large university. There I served as his bishop.
As the school year began, I had a brief interview with him in the bishop’s office. I remember little of that first conversation except that he spoke of his challenges in a new place, but I will never forget our second conversation. He asked to see me in my office. I was surprised when he said, “Could we pray together, and may I be voice?” I was about to say that I had already prayed and expected that he had as well. Instead I agreed. He began his prayer with a testimony that he knew the bishop was called of God. He asked God to tell me what he should do in a matter of great spiritual consequence. The young man told God he was sure the bishop already knew his needs and would be given the counsel he needed to hear. As he spoke, the specific dangers he would face came to my mind. The counsel was simple but given in great clarity: pray always, obey the commandments, and have no fear.
That young man, one year in the Church, taught by example what God can do with a leader as he is sustained by the faith and prayers of those he is called to lead. That young man demonstrated for me the power of the law of common consent in the Church . I spoke recently with that young man who sustained his bishop years ago. I learned that the Lord and the people had sustained him in his call as a missionary, as a stake president, and as a father. He said as our conversation ended, “I still pray for you every day.” ("First Presidency Message: Called of God and Sustained by the People," Liahona, June 2012)

What are some ways we can support or help leaders of the Church both locally and on a larger scale. Ideas include: by our faith and prayers in their behalf, by helping when they ask us, by accepting callings extended to us and most importantly, by following their counsel.

May I leave you my sisters, with an encouragement to not only sustain your church leaders, but to take opportunities to tell them that you do! If you like a talk someone gives, tell them. If you like a lesson, take the time out to let them know. If a leader goes out of their way to help you or your family, show your gratitude by telling them, then helping someone else.

sources:
http://www.ldsliving.com/FHE-Sustaining-the-Prophet/s/78555

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i am so so grateful for the women who have sustained me. it's the sole reason i can keep going in this sometimes very difficult calling! ♥

Saturday, September 30, 2017

emily's bridal shower


this coming thursday is the big day... and today dom and i joined forces again (you can see our first joint effort here) to throw a bridal shower for her sister in law to be, emily! 


it's blossom season here in australia, so i did some branch collecting around the place and ended up with four vases of blossoms that not only looked amazing, but smelt like heaven! the bunting is a mix of lace, satin and calico triangles and is about ten metres long... made by my mum when she and dad were in samoa! it looks amazing all set up!


drinks were simple, with pink lemonade and water with strawberries and mint


the menu was a little more complicated as we catered for gf and df guests, but i think we got it right... there was barely any left over!


gf df brownie muffins (these have been my go to over the last few months - recipe here)


amazing flowers with our feast in the background


we had a few games 
- your earliest memory of emily
- he said, she said, with a video of therons responses... certainly got some giggles from the girls
- how many kisses for the future mrs (guess how many hershey's kisses were in a jar) 


we love you em! i can't wait to watch you become mrs. pinker next week! ♥

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

a mermaid cake!


i have a friend who has 7 children. i admire her so much and am constantly in awe of her ability to handle it all and still stay sane. her eldest is a beautiful red haired girl, full of smiles, but so quiet (around me anyway, i have no idea if she's like that all the time!) i absolutely love her and when i found out her birthday was coming up, i decided i was going to make her cake. she adores mermaids, so it was easy enough to think of a theme... especially after i found a mermaid tail chocolate mould and mini shell moulds on ebay. 


i totally cheated and used the greens white chocolate mud cake mix, then split each box to be five different colours, cooked into two cakes...


and some sort of a marbled rainbow. the tail and shells were simply melted and then reset white chocolate... and the shards had rainbow pearls from the coles bakery aisle sprinkled onto them before they set... and then cut into pieces with a knife. easy as pie!


i had reports of it tasting great, so i guess that's a success... i'm just proud it worked! yay for finally getting somewhere with this cake making thing haha.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

blackout crafts


the weather here on friday was crazy! considering it is now spring, we were all shocked to say the least that the weather turned sour and it was blowing a gale and pouring most of the day... then most inconveniently, our power went out at lunchtime. of course when i picked madeline up from school she wanted to watch tv and listen to music - whilst i wanted to cook and vacuum and do multiple things that involved power... but today it wasn't an option.


so we improvised. joseph sat next to us and played with his cars... and we made a dreamcatcher together, from a kit she got as a birthday gift. (when i say together, i had to do most of it because the threading holes were teeny tiny) but she decorated it and supervised and generally had the time of her life. who knew a black out could produce so much fun? ♥



Thursday, September 21, 2017

eternal friends


today this gorgeous girl made one of the best decisions of her life (other than becoming friends with me hahahaha) as she entered the temple and received her endowment. it was such a beautiful day, even though it was stormy outside, it was warm in our hearts... and i feel so lucky to have been there with her. 


there's not too much i can say about dom that hasn't been said, but this picture kind of sums it up... i love her - and she kind of just goes with it ♥

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

a night at the ballet!


the is the face of the luckiest girl in the world, who straight after her school disco this evening did another costume change and headed back out the door to her first taste of a proper ballet production at none other than his majesty's theatre in perth city! 


we have a friend who works at the west australian ballet and he managed to get 6 free tickets to tonights show of "the great gatsby." probably not the most family friendly show there ever was, but let's be honest, when it's told as a ballet, how bad could it really be?

off we went with the pinker girls and had a great night. the ballet was wonderful and looked amazing... 

but 

please remember i took a 6 year old. this six year old was asked about 4 times prior to entry if she needed to use the bathroom. she said no. halfway through the first act, she (of course) needed to go. a lock out period applies, so we were forced to go and sit in the back row of the very top tier of the theatre. we could still see everything, but of course then she was upset because she wanted to sit with the pinkers.

after intermission we were admitted back to our seats, only for her to ask me question after question so i had to move my head a lot, then i had the guy behind me tell me quite sternly to sit still and stop moving his head or he wouldn't be able to see a thing. maddie chose this moment to tell me that she'd had enough and wanted to go home (fine by me!) so out into the foyer we went... only to see the lovely mermaid jessica pearl (so of course then maddie wanted to stay) who chatted with us until the end of the show and our friends came out again.


in a nutshell. the ballet was lovely, (however without having read the book, or seen the movie... and having any provided dialogue) but really i had no idea what was going on, especially when i had to go in and out more than one. apparently though, maddie did chose a great point in the show to exit... as the ending especially is not child friendly.


i am sure if we go and see something a little more suited to her age group she would enjoy it a lot more... maybe we will try again next year.


another first done.
ballet? check!

school disco


the firsts continue, with madeline heading off this afternoon to her first school disco! as you can see, she was super excited, but i think it was all a bit too much for her. we were given tickets to the ballet just a few hours before the disco began (see my next post) and i think telling her before we went was my first mistake...


although maddie appears very outgoing, she can be awfully shy and get overwhelmed easily... she spent two thirds of the time crying and leaning on me, telling me that the music was too loud, there was too many people and that she didn't want to dance "in front of an audience!" haha. but then after their dinner (a slice of pizza and a juice box) she jumped up and started to groove when they put on a song she knew.


from then until the end she was all smiles and energy... especially with her kindy squad when mummy insisted on taking some pictures. it made me so happy to see them all together, especially when i told them to squish in and the four of them immediately grabbed each others hands. they are too cute for words!


oh well, disco? check!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

stake conference


today was our stake conference and we did something smart! instead of driving to the stake centre, we drove to northam and watched the broadcast with my parents, then joined them for lunch afterwards. no fighting for a parking spot... and speakers in a small room, turned up loud, so we didn't miss a thing. woop!

we got a new stake president today, and our bishop was made one of his counsellors, so i guess there are a lot of changes coming in our ward! it will be interesting, that's for sure!

a few notes i'd love to remember:

-stay on the lords side of the line. it is either wrong or it is right. there is no grey area.
-follow the counsel of a living prophet and those who serve with him
- we are here on the earth to prepare for the second coming of the saviour. prepare yourselves, your children, your grandchildren.
-we offer our service to the savior, of a broken heart and a contrite spirit

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-do not judge the actions or motives of others. the judgement you give, will be the judgement your receive. judge righteous judgements.
- there is no evidence that the prophet joseph smith ever spoke from a prepared text. "it shall be given you in the very moment what you shall speak and what you shall write"

 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

fairy birthday party!


madeline's friend ella from her class at school turned six this week and had a fairy party at the fairy shop in joondalup to celebrate...


cutest thing ever! they must be raking in the parties... they start with a fairy dance class, then do fairy crafts, then dance some more, then have their fairy lunch with cake, then back to play some games. i was well impressed... all of the girls got up and danced and got right into it. 



i love girly parties... i swear my drem is still to dress up as a fairy every day haha.



baby zoe is one


miss zoe is one... and our second party for the day (too popular! haha) was her little birthday bash! 


what a cutie!


her mummy bianca had gone all out and prepared a woodland fiesta with all kinds of all natural (organic, gf, df and vegan) treats. what a machine!


happy birthday miss zoe sage ♥






Friday, September 15, 2017

fremantle for the day


i was born and bred in fremantle western australia - and even though i have never lived there as an adult, in fact my family moved away just days before my fourth birthday, my heart still lies in the old streets. to this day, a day in fremantle feels like coming home. it seemed only appropriate that i should show cara while she is touristing around perth, so today we took a drive with joseph while madeline was at school.


after the prison tour we headed in to the markets. i remember my grandfather (mums dad) having a honey stand, just out the side between the main markets and the food yard, perusing the 2 inch squares of stickers on rolls in one of the stalls up the raised side and most of all, mum sometimes relenting and getting me a marbled helium balloon which was tied to a washer to weigh it down. those were the good old days. sadly none of those things are there any more,but there is still plenty to look at


and to sample as you pass through


my all time favourite store is still "the pickled fairy and other myths" located not far from the markets in downtown fremantle. i can't wait to take maddie there some day soon... i love it! i remember spending hours there as a kid looking at every single little thing over and over. (bless my mum, she has way more patience that i do)


there is this gorgeous fountain in the courtyard which used to be full of coins... but seems to not be a wishing fountain these days. it's still super cute though!

cara and me! ♥

our second to last stop for the day was the roundhouse and the whalers tunnel, where doug and i took our wedding pictures so many years ago...


where i got to hang out with a new man... haha. lucky he loves me too!


last stop... i took joseph to see joseph. our family will always have our hearts in fremantle, seeing as all four of my grandparents were laid to rest in the fremantle cemetery.

fremantle i love you! i'll come one day, when i win the lottery!