December 2014

Thanksgiving and Christmas was quiet and I absolutely loved it.  It was spent with Darrels parents in their home and involved the usual holiday feast.  We had asked the children what they wanted for Christmas and was able to get them each a tablet and headphones.  We purchased them with a money gift from someone in our church.  Of course we have had a very humbling year and we were overwhelmed with the gift. 

The real reason for Christmas was highlighted even more this year with the sad news that Santa is not a real character but a tradition passed down from generation to generation about a man who gave gifts.  There are many different stories about how Santa got started but we chose to compare it to the Savior and how he has given all of us the gift of eternal life and at Christmas we too give to others to remind us of the greatest gift - The father gave His Son to us.

With the death of Santa this season also came the end of the tooth fairy, the Easter bunny, the leprechauns and other such fantasy characters.  The kids have grown up in height and emotional intelligence this year.  Valorie finally lost her first tooth and then another this month - she has been waiting so impatiently for that milestone.  With all this growing up we decided it was time to talk about good pictures/bad pictures and sexual education.  We altered it from the 11 year old perspective down to the 6 year old understanding.  Not that we wanted to but it was necessary with the questions they have asked from talking with their friends.  We wanted them to hear it from us and be able to feel comfortable asking about it.  Now that they have tablets we've used precaution and hope that we haven't given the gift of easy access to the negative things they can find.  We hope to teach them to use it for good things.  We purchased a book and read it with the children.  We found it here:

Good Pictures Bad Pictures Front Cover

 I've been writing the missionaries in our stake and I've decided to start putting them here so that my kids can read them when they are old enough to read this blog.  As for goals for the new year - it is to continue eating healthy and making time for exercise.  It was a good year 2014 love ya! Messy Jess

Questions to ask your Missionary

 Dear Missionary!
I love finding things to write to you about -  but today I want to turn the table around and ask you some questions:

I found this list of questions on line - "Questions to ask your missionary"

If you have time I would love to hear your answers!

If not, go ahead and answer and put it in your journal so you have it to re-read later when you get home and it will remind you of your own personal growth during this time.

I hope you enjoyed your Christmas season and may it continue all year long!

1. When was the last time you laughed with your companion and why? What makes you laugh in your area? How do you stay light hearted?

2. What has your mission president been doing to inspire the mission? What do you love about your mission president?

3. Tell us in person about the last miracle you witnessed…When was the last time you saw an answer to prayer?

4. What do you like about your companion? Do have fun in the work together?

5. Are there any inside jokes in your mission? What is your current mission theme right now?

6. How are your clothes holding up? How are your feet?

7. Have you found any new investigators from your past investigators in your area book?

8. What was your favorite meal from members during the mission so far?

9. Are there street vendors in your area? Do they offer good food? Do you snack during the day between lessons?

10. What has been your favorite P-day activity so far?

11. Do you do a lot of service in your area? What service projects have you done?

12. How many progressing investigators do you have right now? Any new ones since the last email?

13. How much do you work on retention in your area? Are there a lot of less active members?

14. What is your favorite smell in your area right now? Least favorite?

15. How often do you do laundry? When was the last time you washed your sheets? :)

16. What is music like in your ward? Does everyone sing? Does it sound good? Have you had to help with music?

17. What are some of the local sayings and interesting things people say in your area? (if they are in a foreign mission)

18. What’s the scariest thing that has happened to you so far where you have felt protected as a missionary?

19. What do most people do for work in your area or is it pretty mixed?

20. Share with us how has your testimony grown since leaving home? (In your mission language if you want). How has the atonement strengthened you as a missionary?

21. What should we do to be better missionaries at home while you are gone?

The Wise Man

Dear Missionaries!
I hope you are feeling well and filled with Christs love!  Merry Christmas!


Do not hope that your body will be free from illness.
If you do not experience illness, you will be fallen to temptation in arrogance and thus act immorally.
Therefore, the wise man says that you should think of your illnesses as good medicine to learn from.

Do not expect a life free from hardships. Without the experience of hardships, you will become arrogant and boastful.
Therefore, the wise man says to gain wisdom from the obstacles of life.

Do not expect to learn self-discipline without any hardships. Without hardships. your learning will always be incomplete.
Therefore, the wise man says to think of the obstacles as everyday occurrences.

There will always be people who will not cooperate with your plans. If there were not, you would not be able to learn.
Therefore, the wise man says to befriend those who will be against you so that they may help you to learn.

Do not expect your plans to be fulfilled easily. if they are easily fulfilled, you will be prone to arrogance.
Therefore, the wise man says to enjoy the overcoming of obstacles as learning experiences.

Do not befriend someone for your own interest only. If you do, you will only hurt yourself.
Therefore, the wise man says to seek friends who may not always agree with you so that you may learn from them.

Do not expect others to always agree with you. If they do, you will always think that you are always right.
Therefore, the wise man says to look to those who disagree with you so that you may learn from them and become wise.

Do not expect something in return for helping someone. If you expect something, then you will become prone to arrogance.
Therefore, the wise man says to forget and to be satisfied only with the help that you have given.

Do not expect to gain more than you have contributed. If you gain more than you have put in, then you will have evil thoughts which will prevent your progress.
Therefore, the wise man says to be satisfied with humble profits.

Do not always try to vindicate your feelings of victimization. If you try to vindicate yourself. you will have to put the blame on someone or something else.
Therefore, the wise man says that through this experience, you can open the door of self-discipline.

Spiritual Matter

Dear Missionary,

I have struggled with my weight for most of my life.  I look back and realize the time I was most healthy was when I was active in exercise every day – and most of the day.

I was a nanny on Nantucket Island for 4 years.  I rode my bike every day to the beach over cobblestone roads and then walked on the sand and in the surf.  I would go out for a swim and catch the waves.  I would then ride back home and wrestle with two toddlers for most of the day.  Twice a week I would participate in Jazzercise which is aerobics and weight training  and three times a week I went to a class for step aerobics.  Every morning I would stretch and meditate and pray and then journal before I went to bed each night.  I had a very active lifestyle balanced with spiritual and personal welfare.

I married and had 4 children.  Life became very realistic and I stopped putting my physical and spiritual needs first.  Several times I set out to lose the weight and to gain good study habits again.  This past month I was prompted by a friend and by the spirit to try a diet.  I’ve never tried to actually diet outside of healthy eating.  I am very surprised by what I learned from my experience.

Day one.  I was very strict and stayed to the program.  I experienced headaches, nausea,  and hunger.  I continued throughout the week and lost 5 pounds!  In the past 10 years I have not lost a single pound so I was very impressed!

Week two I lost about 2 pounds every day but I started to cheat.  I figured with the success of week one that I had room to bend the rules.  I gave in to social temptations and ate out with a friend.  I gave in to emotional stress and ate food outside of the program limits. My husband went shopping and brought home all the kids favorite junk food and I was mad!  If I couldn’t have my favorite foods then no one else should be allowed to have them either!   I was beginning to realize some of my bad habits and the way my thought process worked.  I was surprised to see that my emotions really played a huge part of my eating habits.

Week three I continued the diet but I had gained back the pounds I lost from week one.  I stuck to the diet like candy in a childs hand but the damage had already been done.  I was back at square one and would have to start over at my beginning weight.
Week four.  I came across a book I had read a long time ago.   At the time I merely skimmed over the pages and put it on my “already read” pile.  This week I opened it up and started to really soak in what it was saying.    

Spiritual Roots of Human Relations by Stephen R. Covey
Chapter 3 The three temptations: Understanding and Overcoming

“He who indulges his sense in any excesses, renders himself obnoxious to his own reason: and to gratify the brute in him, displeases the man, and sets his two natures at variance.”  Sir Walter Scott

To knowingly take things into the body that are harmful or addicting or that simply put on weight is foolishness…..It becomes obvious that gluttony or ingesting harmful substances doesn’t hurt just the body – it also hurts the spirit.  It becomes a spiritual matter: and to the Lord all things are spiritual, and all of his laws and commandments are spiritual.

“Behold, I gave unto him that he should be an agent unto himself: and I gave unto him commandment, but no temporal commandment gave I unto him, for my commandments are spiritual; they are not natural nor temporal, neither carnal nor sensual.” (D&C 29: 34-35)

It was important for me to understand that the root of my problem was spiritual.  Our first and most basic stewardship is our body.  We came to earth to gain a body and we are to use our body as a divine instrument to perfect and train the spirit until the spirit has the full control and mastery of the body under the direction of the Holy Spirit.

This is what really stood out to me when I read it.... “If I do not honor the stewardship over my own flesh, how could I possibly honor my stewardship as a husband or wife, or father or mother?”  “We need to conquer the first temptation first and continue working to conquer all unworthy passions, feelings, and emotions until we can realistically and deeply mean it when we consecrate ourselves  to the Church and to God’s divine purposes.”  Stephen Covey

In the garden of Gethsemane the Savior was tempted and overcame the natural man.  He spirit controlled his body, his appetites, emotions and pride – even his position and power.  President McKay taught regarding these three temptations:  “Nearly every temptation that comes to you and me comes in one of three forms.  Classify them and you will find that every given temptation that makes you and me “spotted” ever so little as it may be, comes to us as:

1) a temptation of the appetite:
2) a yielding to the pride and fashion and vanity of those alienated from the things of God:
3) a gratifying of the passion or a desire for the riches of the world or power among men.

I am continuing my diet with a new perspective and as  a missionary I hope you are finding just the right balance in your appetites and passions.  I pray for your continued success in teaching with the spirit and like the Savior overcoming any temptation of the body.  The Savior does know your thoughts and feelings.  He does have compassion for you and will make your weakness into strength.  May your spirit be blessed!