Monday, November 5, 2018

25 Lessons learned as a Relief Society President

This past month our wards got rearranged and I got released from my calling as a relief society president.  I feel so happy, light, and relieved and at the same time kind of sad.  I've reflected a lot on my experiences, both good and bad, and made a list of what I've learned from them.  The main lesson I've learned is that the Lord is with those who are making an effort to do his work.  Hopefully I will take the time to write down stories that go with all these lessons.  Here's my list :

1.  "When you are on the Lord’s errand, you are entitled to His help." Thomas Monson

2.  Satan is always in opposition to God’s work- anxiety, fear, doubts, and criticism from others

3.  Never call, text, email or visit someone when you are angry.  Take time to respond and respond by focusing on principles, not people or character traits.

4.  Self-reliance is taking responsibility for yourself and your family in all aspects of your life.  Blaming others is not self-reliance.  Blaming God is not being spiritually self-reliant.  Expecting God to tell you EVERYTHING is not being spiritually self-reliant.  Expecting someone else to solve your problems or to reach out to you is not being self-reliant.  Self-reliance is the goal: a truly self-reliant person is able to help others on their quest to become self-reliant-  spiritually, emotionally, financially…

5.  Charity is withholding judgment.

6.  Sometimes charity is not rushing to someone’s aid, but counseling with them in love and helping them realize that the power is in them to solve their own problem.

7.  Ministering- 1.  The Lord is concerned about our spiritual wellbeing.  2.  We need each other.  3.  The Lord loves His daughters.

8.  Revelation is scattered among us.  Counseling with others is well worth it.

9.  Other people have nothing to do with my own salvation.

10.  Our enemy and competition are not with each other.  Our battle is against sin and Satan.  We have a common enemy, goals, and purpose in life; it can bring unity and power.  The only competition is with ourselves- to become a little better each day.

11.  The Lord wants us to love and help the refugees and the poor.

12.  One of the greatest gifts is the gift of revelation.  Revelation takes work- study, prayer, and action of faith.  Revelation most often comes after taking steps of faith.  If we want to call down the powers of heaven we need to do the Lord’s work and will in conjunction with study and prayer.

13.  Relief society presidents need to be emotionally stable and have a solid testimony.

14.  Every generation has their call, just as the pioneers did.  One of our great calls in this generation is to do family history and temple work.  Our families need it for our own spiritual strength in the last days.

15.  “Love is making space in your life for someone else.” Sis Marriott

16.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the greatest organization on the earth.  The Relief Society is the greatest women's organization.  The inner workings of the church (ministering, temple, revelation, repentance, welfare, addiction recovery, counseling…) are full of light and hope and are awesome!

17.  It is ok and good to focus on and use your strengths.  Don’t always focus on your weaknesses.

18.  Wisdom is being able to see things as they really are.

19.  “You know when someone is ready to change when they stop blaming others”  Gina (my counselor)

20.  Don’t let opposition get in your way of doing the Lord’s work, push it aside with faith.

21.  It’s usually best to assess a situation in person- listen and gather information- before making decisions.  Then do what you feel the Lord wants you to do, not necessarily what someone else wants you to do.

22.  In ministering interviews, focus on who is being ministered to.  Help the person ministering to look outward, not inward and how convenient or inconvenient this will be.

23.  How to deal with toxic personalities: 1- Avoid contact with them as much as possible.  2- Always remain professional and keep communication short- respond like a rock with not much to say.  Respond with “thanks for letting me know”. 3-  Avoid speaking to them alone. 4- You most likely cannot help them; they need to be willing to help themselves and to get professional help. 5- Don’t let their poison in to affect your happiness.

24.  Progress won’t happen without humility and obedience.

25.  The Holy Ghost testifies of truth, sometimes just for your own knowledge to show God is listening and cares about you.  Tender mercies of the Lord are real and come to those who are doing His work.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Tender Mercies

Today I'm grateful for tender mercies of the Lord.  Just to clarify what tender mercies of the Lord are, here is a quote from Elder Bednar:

 "Tender mercies are... the very personal and individualized blessings, strength, protection, assurances, guidance, loving-kindnesses, consolation, support, and spiritual gifts which we receive from and because of and through the Lord Jesus Christ... The tender mercies of the Lord are real and do not occur randomly or merely by coincidence.  Often, the Lord's timing of His tender mercies helps us to both discern and acknowledge them."

I searched the scriptures for the phrase "tender mercies" and found it is there over 50 times.  I think that would be a good topic to study.

Anyway, I have found that many of my blessings or things that I have written about are tender mercies that come just when I need them.  A couple of weeks ago I spent many hours doing relief society work- making visiting teaching changes, visiting people, helping people out, going door to door for friends of scouts (not a RS thing, but ended up having to do it).  One of these busy days I helped a lady out with her kids and missed Sara's tennis game.  The lady was in a real bind and had lots of problems so I knew I needed to help her out.  I went to pick Sara up late and there she was in the empty parking lot with the mom of a girl and the tennis coach waiting for me.  I felt so bad, just so sad that I had put others before my own daughter who I love far more than any sister in the ward.  She went on to tell me how good she had done in her games that day... and I was so sorry that I didn't get to be there for her and even worse that I couldn't even pick her up on time. 

That evening I had to do the friends of scouts thing, and earlier that day I had a few complaints from people about visiting teaching. It was just a hard day for me.  A day where I thought, "What am I doing?"  "Why am I doing this?" "I'm not making a difference in anyone's life, and I'm just hurting the lives that I love the most."

Now, really I spend a lot of time with my kids and family.  They have just had to sacrifice a little with me in this calling.  They are fine and often they get opportunities to serve with me.  I just felt a load and sadness that particular day.

Well, that night I got some tender mercies.  My new counselor went with me to go door to door asking for friends of scouts donations with me, which she didn't have to do.  When we were finished around 8:30 that night, she said she wanted to thank me for giving her this calling (even though it was God that gave her the calling) and how it has initiated a great change for good in her life.  She's such a kind giving person.  Then I went into the house and there was a plate of cookies from another sister in the ward, and a vase of flowers from another sister in the ward.  It was as if the God was saying to me, "I'm aware of you, love you, and accept your effort."  Oh, I cried and was just so grateful for the sweet women in my life and that God is watching over me.

I believe tender mercies come into our lives as we act on our faith.  We may not recognize our blessings as being from the Lord, but I think they most often are.  I'm grateful for my calling that stretches me so much, so much that I think I get extra tender mercies.  And, I'm grateful for my wonderful family who supports me.  I sure love them.

Tender Mercies

Friday, February 3, 2017

Will Will

Today I'm grateful for Will Will.  A couple of weeks ago I had one of those days where I felt underappreciated.  You know, people not showing up for appointments that I had set up, appointments that I had really prepared for and put myself out to go to... you know, grrr.   So, that day I said (quietly) to my ward, "Y'all go eat rocks!  I'm going to go spend my time with someone who loves me and with someone who I can actually make a difference with."  So I put all my RS stuff aside that I was planning for the day and spent it with Will. We played with puzzles, read books, did lincoln logs... so nice.  Will is my happy, friendly and funny buddy.   He goes on visits with me, hangs out with me, talks about fish and minecraft, and loves me no matter what (he doesn't always like me though, hehe).  I'm so glad I have such a pleasant kid to keep me company.  It will be sad to have him in school next year.

Here's a cute story about Will.  We had a family night about President Uchdorf's talk about the umbrella.  Basically it's about how God is always showering blessings upon us and we are the ones who put up our umbrella to block the blessings.  I made little rain drops that had blessing written on them and we had situations where we had to decide if the situation was putting up our umbrella or letting it down.  We took turns with the umbrella and with showering blessings on each other's heads.  Will and Mac thought this was great.  Mac understood the lesson, Will didn't really.  So one day Will and I were visiting an elderly sister in our ward.  As we got up to leave we noticed it was starting to rain.  Will yelled, "Blessings!  It's raining blessings!" And we walked out into the falling blessings.  Another day when it was raining he said it again, "Blessings!  Can I go out and get blessings?"  So he did.  He's my little blessing.  I love Will Will.  He's so nice to have around, especially when I get down.

I posted a video clip from Uchdorf's talk

Shower of Heavenly Blessings

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Blessings of 2016

So, should I just write in this once a year?  I'm such a slacker.  But... since the year is over, I should document some ways I've seen the hand of the Lord in my life this past year.

January 2016- Went to the temple for the first time for my own family- already documented.  This was also the month that I found Baldwin Morris and Eleanor Richardson Morris's parents' names.  I say I found them, but it really wasn't me.  Heidi went to Nauvoo, brought back family records, and they were on the Nauvoo baptism temple records.  I'm fairly certain I've found a bunch of the Richardson family, but have no direct proof- yet.  It has been pretty exciting, because I can only imagine how many descendants have searched for these people.  I'm sure I will find more info about them with time.

February 2016- Went to roots tech- our favorite class was taught by Wendy Nelson and Sheri Dew- super great women.  Andy and Sara went too and learned how to find cousins on family search. When we came home Andrew wanted to try and find names.  I was a little nervous and explained that sometimes it isn't as quick and easy as the guy teaching the class made it seem.  I didn't want him to try a little and give up, which is what he tends to do.  We found a family within 1/2 hr... a family with more info about their lives than you usually get.  I was surprised and Andrew said, "I'm not surprised, Wendy Nelson said if they are ready they will be easy to find."  There you go, they were ready and we've had fun doing the work for them.

March 2016- I don't remember.  This is the problem of only writing once a year.

April 2016- We went to St. George for spring break.  My parents are always a blessing to me.  We are so happy to have them home.

May 2016- once again- who knows?

June- August 2016- being with the family for summer.  We went to Bear Lake with the Burnahs and the Porters, missed grandma Bobby and grandpa Art, went to the cabin, went to Yellowstone with my parents and Heidi- beautiful and amazing place!  And the biggest challenge and blessing for me this year was that I got called to be RS president.

 I will have to write more posts about that one.  You think of a RS president as someone who has it all together, no fear, always knows what to say, confident, the appearance of perfection... but that's not me.  This has been the most humbling calling I've had since my mission.  But, it has caused me to rely on the Lord like I never have before in a calling (besides the mission).  I need His help sooo bad.  I feel like all my weaknesses are out on display.  Really, God must have a sense of humor.  I can only imagine how entertaining it is to see me squirm.  It's like he was thinking, 'Who would be the MOST uncomfortable doing this, but will say yes?  Oh, yeah, Holly Burnah- this will be so funny.'  Its a heavy duty calling which comes with a huge weight on the shoulders.  This is not a calling for the weak, haha, which is my problem.   I've always thought of every calling as equal, of equal importance, and they are, but they are NOT all equal in difficulty and time.  I feel like I'm going through a refiners fire big time.  I deal with lots of people (women, in particular- which can be wonderful or super frustrating) with lots of serious issues.  I have to be in charge, in front of people (I hate attention so bad), feel the judgments of others, and get a lot of assignments and promptings that I don't want to do.  The struggle is real.  I feel like I'm in a constant battle to overcome my weaknesses (especially my fear of man) to do this the way the Lord wants.  Plus, I, on many occasions, lose sleep over worries and ideas.   So, that's the gist of the difficulty of it; I could give many specific examples.  I actually could go on a ranting rampage complaining, but... there are also HUGE blessings to it that  I can't deny and that I'm so grateful for.

Blessings- I study the scriptures and gospel way more and better than I did before, I pray more, and I'm guided more.  I have the opportunity to serve- a lot!  I am becoming less judgmental and realize my blessings more.  God helps me.  So many times I've been stuck not knowing what to do, how to help, without help that I need... and then the help comes; a tender mercy.  "When we are on the Lord's errand, we are entitled to his help" -Thomas S. Monson.  And, holy smokes, its true!  I'm getting to know lots of good people. My councilors are super helpful and wonderful.  Tavish has stepped it up when it comes to the family.  He's always stepped it up, but he's helped take care of the kids even more and fully supported me.  How hard would this be without his support?  The kids have supported me too.  We have had an increase of spirituality in our home, which is a blessing for us all.

Ok, so now on to one more blessing to our family this year- Grandpa and Grandma serving a mission.  As much as we hate to have them gone, we are blessed and so are they.  Their letters are uplifting and entertaining.  What a great example they are to our kids.  They love to hear from them and write them letters.  Missionary families are blessed.  Ya Hoo!

There ya go- from a slacker trying to recognize the had of the Lord in her life

Friday, January 8, 2016

Catchin up

 I've been terrible at keeping up with this.  So, here is a catch up on some blessings that I've had since I last wrote.

1.  My parents came home safely from their mission.  This is a huge blessing.  We missed them so much.  I love having them home, and they are good for the kids.

2.  Andrew got the priesthood the weekend we moved.  Both sets of grandparents were able to come.

3.  We sold our house, finally, and moved into our new one.  We had a family actually offer to buy the house and let us rent until we were ready to move into the new house.  I can't tell you what a blessing that was.  Our new home is beautiful and in a beautiful place next to the mountains.

4. Tavish's parents got their mission call to Montreal, Canada.  Ok, I'm not going to lie- I'm not excited for them to leave.  I feel like we've been there done that with my parents and don't want to do it again.  But... I know they will bless many lives and we can sacrifice and share them with the people of Canada.  They were planning on going to Tahiti because the mission president there requested them, but were called instead to Montreal.  I'm so happy.  I was really worried about them clear in Tahiti, especially Grandma Bobby.  I think the Lord is taking care of them.

5.  Tavish and I got callings to be family history consultants.  I'm sure God knew that we needed a calling to get us to do what we should have been doing already.  I LOVE my new calling.  We have become addicted.  And, for the first time ever we did family baptisms with our parents and Andrew.  Tell me, what is better than that?  Last night we went to the new Payson temple with Tavish's parents and did 16 boy baptisms and 17 girl baptisms.  The weather was awful and the baptistery was practically empty.  It was so peaceful and nice.  We love the new temple.  We love our new calling too!

There you go, there's a brief catch up on a few things.  I could write lots more, but this will have to do for now.  I will try to be better this next year :),

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Superhero Grandpa Dale

Last week we got a scary letter from my mom.  She told of an experience my dad had. I think I'm just going to copy it here:

Dear kids I wanted to tell you something that happened to your dad yesterday afternoon. Don't worry all turned out well but here is the story. It is almost unbelievable. Your dad stopped at a red light coming home from paying a bill. He was in his car. His doors were unlocked and a juvenile about 16 or 17 climbed into the back seat and put a gun to your dad's head and made him drive to a place that was a little rough. He gave him his money and his GPS and His phone. Take the stuff and go but he did not. He climbed into the front seat and put the gun to dad's head and said there is one bullet in this gun lets shoot it and see if the one will come up and kill you. So the boy calked it and shot but click then he did it again and Dad decided when he heard the click again he was going to fight. Well he pulled the trigger again and click. Dad grabbed his hand that had the gun and pinned the boy's arm with the gun so he could not use it. He held the boy's arm for a long time. The boy kicked and they had quite a tussle. The boy broke the front window and cut his knee a bit but dad still held him. He finally dropped the gun and dad picked it up. The boy yelled it has no bullets. He was screaming the whole time they were fighting. Dad was stronger. They both got out of the car. While they were struggling dad called out to the people around call the police but they just all went into their houses. One car pulled up and looked inside and smiled and went on his way. One woman finally called. The boy got out of the car and wanted his gun back. Dad said no way and the boy picked up a big rock which he could barely hold and said he was going to bash his head in. The police came around the corner he saw them and turned to run and then there was another police car on the other side. They subdued him and took him in. Dad spent 4 hours filling out papers at the police office. He has to go to court on February 25th. The boy said no one is going to help you here and he was right. I think the neighbors all knew him. but thank goodness one lady had the guts to call and she then warned the boy to get out and not hurt dad or things would go bad for him. She told him the police were on their way. but he wanted the gun back so bad that he didn't heed her. Dad said there were about 10 police there. four surrounded the boy and the others kept an eye out for neighbors who might be give them trouble.  So that is most of the story. He kept saying he was going to kill dad. Dad said he was not scared he said it seemed like a dream. He was calm. The robber didn't like that so he tried to scare him other ways. Dad has a little mark on his cheek because of the fight but it is hardly noticeable. I told heavenly father I would not pick at the stupid things that dad did ever again. I am human so I will probably forget and be annoyed again but for now the whole situation scared me and made me realize how much I loved your dad. I think what could of happened and I thank my Heavenly Father for sparing your dad. I just wanted you to know we are both fine and we both feel protected and we feel great. So maybe I should not have written to you all but I think it is better that you do. I know you will see how brave your dad is and he stayed calm the whole time. I think that is what made the kid so mad. It is amazing that such a thing could happen. People get so desperate and this boy was just plain mean. Well I love and miss you all. Your dad truly is a great man with much strength and honor. He just wanted to beat the kid but he restrained himself. I wish I had that much mastery over my self. I just don't and loose it when I get stressed. Well I love you all. Don't worry we are great. I respect your dad a great deal and I am so thrilled that I have him here with me. Take care. I love you all mom

Of course reading this letter was just scary.  I felt so upset and sick to my stomach, followed by lots of anger.  How dare someone try to hurt my dad!  Followed by, My Dad is AWESOME!

 Life is so fragile.  Experiences like this help you remember what is really important in life.  After I read the letter I didn't care about the trivial things, just grateful that my parents are alive and for all they have done for me. My dad always has been an example to us as someone who can remain calm in the most stressful situations.  I have no doubt that the Holy Ghost was guiding him and helping him remain calm.  Our blessing of the week!  They have 2 weeks left, please come home safe!