Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Forget Not

                    Families, communities, and nations are strengthened when we forget not the important things of life.  President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, spoke to the Relief Society sisters in September 2011 about five things we should never forget.  I love to listen to President Uchtdorf because he seems to see into my soul and know what I need to hear.  In his talk entitled "Forget Me Not"   he used the forget-me-not flower as a metaphor and the five petals of this flower to represent "five things we would be wise never to forget."  
                    The forget-me-not is one of President Uchtdorf's favorite flowers from his childhood in Germany.  I have forget-me-nots growing in my flower garden also.  They are so tiny and yet so beautiful!  As I listened to President Uchtdorf speak, I knew that my daughters and many other young women would have a touch of homesickness for Alaska!  I really enjoyed this talk and felt the need to pass the information along to other women.  Much of this post will be quotes from his talk.
                    "First, forget not to be patient with yourself….  God is fully aware that you and I are not perfect…. God is also fully aware that the people you think are perfect are not.  And yet we spend so much time and energy comparing ourselves to others - usually comparing our weaknesses to their strengths.  This drives us to create expectations for ourselves that are impossible to meet.  As a result, we never celebrate our good efforts because they seem to be less than what someone else does….
                    "Dear sisters, many of you are endlessly compassionate and patient with the weaknesses of others.  Please remember also to be compassionate and patient with yourself.
                    "In the meantime, be thankful for all the small successes in your home, your family relationships, your education and livelihood, your Church participation and personal improvement.  Like the forget-me-nots, these successes may seem tiny to you and they may go unnoticed by others, but God notices them and they are not small to Him.  If you consider success to be only the most perfect rose or dazzling orchid, you may miss some of life's sweetest experiences…."
                    "Our journey toward perfection is long, but we can find wonder and delight in even the tiniest steps in that journey."
                    "Second, forget not the difference between a good sacrifice and a foolish sacrifice.  An acceptable sacrifice is when we give up something good for something of far greater worth….
                    "Every person and situation is different, and a good sacrifice in one instance might be a foolish sacrifice in another.
                    "How can we tell the difference for our own situation?  We can ask ourselves, "Am I committing my time and energies to the things that matter most?"  There are so many good things to do but we can't do all of them.  Our Heavenly Father is most pleased when we sacrifice something good for something far greater with an eternal perspective….
                    "Third, forget not to be happy now.... In this classic children's story [Charlie and the Chocolate Factory], people all over the world desperately yearn to find a golden ticket.  Some feel that their entire future happiness depends on whether or not a golden ticket fall into their hands.  In their anxiousness, people begin to forget the simple joy they used to find in a candy bar.  The candy bar itself becomes an utter disappointment if it does not contain a golden ticket.
                    "So many people today are waiting for their own golden ticket - the ticket that they believe holds the key to happiness they have always dreamed about.  For some, the golden ticket may be a perfect marriage; for others, a magazine-cover home or perhaps freedom from stress or worry.
                    "There is nothing wrong with righteous yearnings - we hope and seek after things that are `virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy.'  The problem comes when we put our happiness on hold as we wait for some future event - our golden ticket - to appear….
                    "The lesson here is that if we spend our days waiting for fabulous roses, we could miss the beauty and wonder of the tiny forget-me-nots that are all around us.
                    "This is not to say that we should abandon hope or temper our goals.  Never stop striving for the best that is within you.  Never stop hoping for all of the righteous desires of your heart.  But don't close your eyes and hearts to the simple and elegant beauties of each day's ordinary moments that make up a rich, well-lived life.
                    "The happiest people I know … are those who, while in pursuit of worthy goals, discover and treasure the beauty and sweetness of the everyday moments.  They are the ones who, thread by daily thread, weave a tapestry of gratitude and wonder throughout their lives.  These are they who are truly happy."
                    "Fourth, forget not the `why' of the gospel.  Sometimes, in the routine of our lives, we unintentionally overlook a vital aspect of the gospel of Jesus Christ, much as one might overlook a beautiful, delicate forget-me-not.  In our diligent efforts to fulfill all of the duties and obligations we take on as members of the Church, we sometimes see the gospel as a long list of tasks that we must add to our already impossibly long to-do list, as a block of time that we must somehow fit into our busy schedules.  We focus on what the Lord wants us to do and how we might do it, but we sometimes forget why.
                    "My dear sisters, the gospel of Jesus Christ is not an obligation; it is a pathway, marked by our loving Father in Heaven, leading to happiness and peace in this life and glory and inexpressible fulfillment in the life to come.  The gospel is a light that penetrates mortality and illuminates the way before us….
                    "The `what' and `how' of obedience mark the way and keep us on the right path.  The `why' of obedience sanctifies our actions, transforming the mundane into the majestic.  It magnifies our small acts of obedience into holy acts of consecration."
                    Fifth, forget not that the Lord loves you….  You are not forgotten.  Sisters, wherever you are, whatever your circumstances may be, you are not forgotten.  No matter how dark your days may seem, no matter how insignificant you may feel, no matter how overshadowed you think you may be, your Heavenly Father has not forgotten you.  In fact, He loves you with an infinite love….
                    "He who created and knows the stars knows you and your name - you are the daughters of His kingdom.  The Psalmist wrote:  `When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou has ordained;
"`What is man, that thou art mindful of him? …
"`For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour' (Psalms 8:3-5).
"God loves you because you are His child.  He loves you even though at times you may feel lonely or make mistakes.  The love of God and the power of the restored gospel are redemptive and saving.  If you will only allow His divine love into your life, it can dress any wound, heal any hurt, and soften any sorrow.
"My dear Relief Society sisters, you are closer to heaven than you suppose.  You are destined for more than you can possibly imagine.  Continue to increase in faith and personal righteousness.  Accept the restored gospel of Jesus Christ as your way of life.  Cherish the gift of activity in this great and true Church.  Treasure the gift of service in the blessed organization of Relief Society.  Continue to strengthen homes and families.  Continue to seek out and help others who need your and the Lord's help."
President Uchtdorf summarized his talk by saying:  "Sisters, there is something inspiring and sublime about the little forget-me-not flower.  I hope it will be a symbol of the little things that make your lives joyful and sweet.  Please never forget that you must be patient and compassionate with yourselves, that some sacrifices are better than others, that you need not wait for a golden ticket to be happy.  Please never forget that the `why' of the gospel of Jesus Christ will inspire and uplift you.  And never forget that your Heavenly Father knows, loves, and cherishes you."
I have many friends who do not enjoy Mother's Day because they think that they do not measure up to the wonderful words given to mothers.  I always feel better when I remember that Heavenly Father knows me completely - all my strengths as well as all my weaknesses - and He trusted me to be a mother.  Even though I am not perfect, He thought I was good enough to trust that He could trust some of His children with me.  Happy Mother's Day!

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