Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Now, on the lighter side, here are a few more examples.
When I am having a drive-me-crazy moment with the kids, God compensates me by helping me understand that those moments will one day fade, and He helps me to make the best of them. I'm also compensated by being able to say, "Go to your room!"
When I find another spot where my hair has thinned, I am compensated with a new wig. (Just call me a Dreamgirl:o))
When I get that rejection letter for a manuscript submission, God compensates me by increasing my determination to get it published, and gives me the opportunity to improve my writing.
When my family tracks mud through the house, God compensates me by . . . well, I don't know how I'm compensated on that one. I'm still trying to figure it out. But I know there's blessing there somewhere:o)
The point I'm trying to make is that trial is given and nothing is taken away without God giving us something back in return.
So recognize the blessings in everything.
Movie: Amazing Grace
Amazing Grace tells the inspiring story of William Wilberforce and his passion and perseverance to pass a law ending the slave trade in the late 18th century. Several friends, including Wilberforce's minister, a reformed slave ship captain who penned the beloved hymn Amazing Grace, urge him to see the cause through.
No matter how many times I see this movie, I cry. It's an excellent one for the whole family, not to mention a great history lesson. I wish there were more movies made like this one.
Get your copy of Amazing Grace today. I promise you, you won't be disappointed.
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Monday, January 19, 2009
I had the wonderful opportunity of sitting down with a fantastic woman who has enlightened me in a number of ways. I decided I wanted to share with our LDSBlogs.com readers this daughter of God as well. So, please let me introduce you to Jewel Adams: wife, mother and author.
Candace: Jewel, you have made it very well known to one and all that you did not grow up in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and that your circumstances were a little less than ideal. I happen to know you are a fantastic woman and someone I feel privileged to call my friend. But will you please share a little bit about your beginnings and what brought you to the Church in the first place?
Jewel: Well, I was born and raised in Asheville, NC. I lived in an abusive home and watched my mother be abused on a daily basis. I was a pretty messed up kid emotionally and because of this, I made some pretty poor choices. True, I had a painful childhood, but in the end, the choices I soon began to make were mine.
I made the dumb decision of getting married when I was 16 to a guy I didn't love. I did it to escape the prison I called home because I was tired of taking care of an alcoholic mother. In truth, I just traded one prison for another. Two years later, Isaiah, the guy I married, went swimming and drowned. At 18 I was a widow and because of his life insurance, I had more money than I knew what to do with.
Having been raised poor, suddenly having that much money was not a good thing. That money helped to fuel a newly developing drug and alcohol addiction. It helped to numb all the pain that I couldn't seem to forget.
Then I married another man I didn't love (we only had drugs and alcohol in common). It was also at this time that I met my first set of missionaries. Of course a couple of minutes into the discussion they knew I was too wasted for them to get anywhere with me.
Two years later after family and friends had bled me dry and I was again living in a housing project but now was a mother of two babies, I was humbled enough for the Lord to send another set of missionaries and this time I listened, and I immediately knew what they were telling me was true. Despite an ongoing battle with substance abuse I was baptized. Because drugs and alcohol were the only thing we had in common, my marriage ended. I finally became clean and sober, married my amazing husband in the St. George Temple, moved to Utah permanently, and never looked back.
But thinking back on it, I think I was a Mormon as a child and just didn't know it, I mean while all my friends idolized the Jackson 5, The Sylvers, and Marvin Gaye, I idolized The Osmonds. I had a poster of Donny on my wall and his face was on my notebook. Of course everyone thought I was out of my mind, but I didn't care.
Candace: You are one of the least "woe is me" people I have ever had the blessing of meeting. With the recent Church celebration of the Lord's revelation to President Spencer W. Kimball in 1978 that all "worthy male members of the Church may now hold the priesthood," there has been much excitement and rumor abounding amongst the members of the Church. You've told me about your family, friends and co-workers' opinions when you joined the Mormon Church. Will you please share those experiences and your responses to them?
Jewel: Growing up we didn't go to church on a regular basis, but my mother did tell us about God and taught us to pray. When she finally escape her brutal marriage and we moved from Charlotte back to our home town of Asheville, my brother and I started attending church with my grandparents. They were staunch Baptists and their church rocked out every Sunday morning and evening. My grandparents wanted us to be baptized, but for some reason I refused.
Later when I joined the Mormon church I got a lot of flack from family and so-called friends. They gave me a hard time for joining what they considered a racist church. I told them the Church wasn't racist. Then my manager at work asked me why the blacks had to wait so long to hold the priesthood. The answer quickly came to me. I said that neither the blacks or whites were ready for such a change before then and that a change of that magnitude would have torn the Church apart. It's something I've never even questioned. There is a time for everything and God knows when that time is. He is perfect and He doesn't make mistakes.
Candace: As an author, you have recently released a book which is a thinly veiled, yet wonderful, parable of premortality and mortality. As many know, Mormons believe we did not begin with birth, nor do we end with death. Would you please share your opinion and knowledge of how our Heavenly Father looks upon all of His children regardless of race, color or creed?
Jewel: First, I have to say that there is another author named Jewel Adams and her writing is kind of on the naughty side. That's why I'm now going by J.Adams.
One of the things my mother taught us was not to ever see color, even though she was raised in an age of extreme racism. I'm sure that was a trait she brought with her to this life. I think Heavenly Father is color blind as well. I know each race has certain trials that may come because of their race, but like all other trials, I think what's most important is how we deal with those trials, and how we let them affect us.
Candace: Would you please share with us what it is like being a black Mormon?
Jewel: When I first moved to Utah people actually went out of their way to show me they weren't racist to the point that I would think, "Whoa, back up a little. I know you're okay with me." But truthfully, I love living in Utah among so many saints. I've never had a problem with cultural differences and no one has ever had a problem with mine. I've never had a problem with racism in the Church, and as far as I know, neither have my children. I have made so many friends in the Church, people who support me and love me unconditionally. My patriarchal blessing says that my "ability to make friends is a precious talent to be cultivated." How grateful I am for that.
Candace: To those who would say The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a racist church, how would you respond?
Jewel: I would say nothing could be further from the truth. Our church is filled with diversity and all are welcome, no matter your race, creed or color. We are all God's children and we are all the same in His eyes. I'd also invite them to come and play church ball or attend a ward pot luck. Good food always brings everyone together.
Candace: What advice do you have other blacks investigating the Church?
Jewel: Put all thoughts of race and things of the past aside and open your heart so the Lord can do His work in it. And if you do have concerns, pray about them, but remember, it's all about the gospel and nothing else.
Candace: I am a firm believer in celebrating that which is good and what we all have in common. Can you tell me why we should forget the hurts of the past and concentrate on the present and future?
Jewel: Concentrating on the hurts of the past can do nothing but bring us down. I'm a firm believer in showing gratitude for all things and living in the here and now. When I pray, I try to always remember to thank God for both the joys and the sorrows, including the sorrows of the past. I don't know if my ancestors came from Africa, Fiji, or Jamaica, but I'm sure they were most likely slaves and were likely treated badly. But how grateful I am for what they went through. It is because of them that I am here in this free land, living this amazing life. Their time has passed, but my time is now, and I will not use this time thinking bitter thoughts. They would not want that.
Candace: What advice do you have for those seeking to find Jesus Christ and His Gospel?
Jewel: Just pray with an open heart, then listen with an open mind and ears, and He will come. And definitely welcome those missionaries.
Candace: Would you please leave your testimony with us?
Jewel: Looking back on my life and the person I was, I almost feel like I'm looking at someone else's life, like I've lived two lives. How grateful I am to the Lord for rescuing me when He did. By rights I should be dead, but God had other plans, and if someone would have told me when I was 18 that I would one day be a Mormon, married and living in Utah, a mother of 8 children, and writing books, I would have offered that person a drink because they would have needed it more than me. But, as I said, God had bigger plans for me than I had for myself.
With all my heart and soul I know this gospel is true and I will be eternally grateful to the Lord for never giving up on me. I'm grateful for Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice. Because of it, I was able to leave the old life behind and accept the one I have now, the one He prepared for me from the beginning. And though I know I'll never be perfect in this life, God has given me the gift of knowing that everyday is a day of grace as long as He is in it.
And there ends the interview with Jewel Adams. Much has been said of late of why African Americans join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Jewel has always been frank and straightforward in responding to people who ask this question. Once again, this morning she addressed this issue on an email list we both belong to. I asked her if she'd be willing to be interviewed for LDSBlogs.com and she was very gracious in saying yes. I hope you enjoyed this woman who has lived through so much to come out into the light of Jesus Christ. She is a friend who I would stand with at all times.
Author: Toni Sorenson
My name will mean nothing to you, but my story is a re-telling of the greatest story ever told and should mean everything to everyone. If you interpret my words as fiction and fiction only, you will miss out on truths that are both historical and spiritual. Search the scriptures. There you will find evidence of my existence recorded in ancient sacred writ, overlooked for millennia. My story comes forth now because now is the promised day when satanic doubt spreads like black ink, threatening to blot out His very name, to reduce Him to nothing more than a teacher, to erase the eternal truths He taught and lived. That cannot happen. Jesus was who He said He was. I know because I was there in the shadows of His holy footsteps. His miracles were real. I know because I am one of those miracles.
I loved this book and I know you will, too! You can purchase a copy of Master at your local bookstore or on Amazon.com
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Monday, January 12, 2009
When I think of my mother, I remember her loving ways and her amazing talents. Despite her life-long bout with alcoholism, she was truly a good person and did her best to be a good mother to us.
When I think about the father I had just barely begun to know before his life was brutally taken, I remember his beautiful smile and his desire to overcome his drug addiction and live a better life.
When I think about my precious grandmother, I remember her kindness, patience, unconditional love, and unwavering devotion to her Lord and Savior. (I also remember the recipes she taught me that never included measurements:o))
When I think of my grandfather, I remember picking plums with him from their huge backyard tree, getting my hair caught in the branches, and my grandfather lovingly coming to my rescue. He was a great man.
When I think about my father's mother and both my great-grandmothers, I remember their strengths and ability to overcome trials and opposition.
Each and every one of these people were very dear to me and their presence in my life helped to make me who I am. Though all were dealt painful blows in their lives, they all took part in the legacy left for me, and I want to do all I can to make them proud and let them know that legacy was not left in vain.
I can't help but think of my children. What kind of legacy will I leave for them? What will they remember about me?
Will they remember me being a good mother? A good wife to their dad? A good daughter of God? A good person?
I sure hope so. I hope that at the end of my life, I, as well as them, and anyone else I have come in contact with, can look back and say, "She did good. She lived her best life."
So, what legacy will you leave?
Book: The Last Lecture
Author: Randy Pausch
A lot of professors give talks titled "The Last Lecture." Professors are asked to consider their demise and to ruminate on what matters most to them. And while they speak, audiences can't help but mull the same question: What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance? If we had to vanish tomorrow, what would we want as our legacy?
When Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, was asked to give such a lecture, he didn't have to imagine it as his last, since he had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. But the lecture he gave--"Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams"--wasn't about dying. It was about the importance of overcoming obstacles, of enabling the dreams of others, of seizing every moment (because "time is all you have...and you may find one day that you have less than you think"). It was a summation of everything Randy had come to believe. It was about living.
In this book, Randy Pausch has combined the humor, inspiration and intelligence that made his lecture such a phenomenon and given it an indelible form. It is a book that will be shared for generations to come.I watched Randy Pausch's lecture last year on the internet and then read his book. His words and story are very inspiring and his book really cause the reader to ponder his or her life and the mark you want to leave on the world. It's a book that everyone should read.
The Last Lecture can be purchased at your local bookstore or on Amazon.com
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Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Here are a few thoughts I found and would like to share.
When the door of happiness closes, another opens, but often times we look so long at the closed door that we don't see the one which has been opened for us.
May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human, enough hope to make you happy.
Always put yourself in others' shoes. If you feel that it hurts you, It probably hurts the other person, too.
The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way.
The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past, you can't go on well in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches.
I wish you all a very happy, joyful, and prosperous new year!
Life is idyllic in the fairytale world where conflict is minimal and breaking into song solves every problem, but what happens when a princess from the fairy world gets magically transported into the real world? Enchanted begins in the animated fairytale world of Andalasia where Princess Giselle (Amy Adams) is destined to marry Prince Edward (James Marsden) and live happily ever after. Problem is, Edward's step-mother Queen Narissa (Susan Sarandon) doesn't want to give up the throne and will do anything to get Giselle out of Edward's life.
Queen Narissa's solution is to push Giselle into a well that magically lands Giselle smack in the middle of the real world--the center of Time Square in New York City, to be exact. This launches the live-action portion of the film where Giselle immediately realizes that things are frighteningly different in this new world and that she is ill-prepared for the callous ways of the people who inhabit it. Giselle finds herself alone on a stormy night in the wrong end of town, but a chance encounter with Robert (Patrick Dempsey) and his princess-loving daughter Morgan (Rachel Covey) leads to a warm, safe place to spend the night and the beginnings of a complicated, yet compelling relationship. As Giselle begins to question the fairy-tale truths she's always inherently believed, Robert's outlook on life and love also begins to change significantly.
My son Gave me a copy of this wonderful movie for Christmas and no matter how many times I watch it, I laugh all the way through and get warm fuzzies by the end.
Pick up your copy of Enchanted today.
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