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I Am... Mama and Writer

First Mama.  Then Writer.  Though, of late, the latter has consumed a great deal of time as I work to get things in order to potentially be ...

Monday, December 31, 2012

Meditation Monday #23

Today is day 209 of my meditation journey.  I'm visiting family right now.  Though the circumstances are different and somewhat more difficult, I've been blessed to be able to continue my daily meditating.  If there was actually anything for me to be proud of, I might be... but I know that it's only continued as steadily onward because of the Grace of God.  He is mighty to save... love... provide... Our God is an awesome God!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Thankful Thursday

I am so thankful that blessings and trials are equal.  The trial may seem unendurable, yet if I can look with the right eyes, I always see some blessing in/of/from it... and always there follow blessings sent, as it were, to wipe the tears away.  Of course, they often cause their own tears... but tears of joy instead of sorrow.

I'm thankful for a Loving Heavenly Father who has blessed me so abundantly with the earthly family I have.  Growing up with them was a lil' tough for me, but being an adult with them is almost completely a joy and pleasure.  I sure am glad to know such a fine group of human beings!

I'm thankful for trials.  I'm thankful for blessings.  I'm thankful for the gift of eyes to see and ears to hear that I may understand.  God is GREAT!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Meditation Monday #22

Today is day 202 of my meditation journey.  Due to certain circumstances, this past week it was significantly more difficult to meditate each day.  I did it, though.  Many days it was a short meditation (around 10 minutes, total), but I'm still plugging along.  I'm very pleased about that!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Thankful Thursday

I'm thankful for trials that force me to question my reality and learn from what I've been through.

I'm thankful for my family.  I'm so thankful  for hugs from them and their love no matter how much I may not deserve it.

I'm thankful for meditation and the peace that comes with reading the scriptures.  I sure do love the book of Revelations!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Meditation Monday #21

Today is day 195 of my meditation journey.  The very fact that I'm still counting is pretty phenomenal to me right now.  I've experienced some pretty major seismic shifting over the last 8-10 days.  A younger self would've given up this journey as a fruitless effort with the things that have been going on.  Perhaps I am becoming wise yet.  I sure do hope so....

I have not been able to continue with the guided imagery meditation over the last week or so.  I hope to pick it back up sooner than later, though.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Saturday Soliloquy #13

Some of my favorite things about Japan include many daily practices.  I loved the entry way in my Host Family’s home.  It was quite large.  Basically it was a transitional sort of area of the home… even those you may not invite into the inner parts of your home could enter and converse with you in the entry room.  There were many things in this room of my Host Family’s home, but I don’t remember all the details.  The main things I remember are that #1 the entry level of the floor change right before you went into the house… it raised up about 8-12 inches from the level of the first front door to the level of the door into the home.  Before anyone entering could step up to the inner home level, it was expected that one should remove the shoes worn outside and put on some house slippers.  My Host Family had house slippers for each person, but also had lots of extra visitor slippers.  I loved that.

I also really loved that my host family had a whole smallish room for the toilet.  This room was a bit sunk down and the practice was to remove house slippers, put on the toilet room slippers (that everyone shared), use the toilet, and then exit, leaving the toilet room slippers ready for the next person to enter (not exactly convenient for the person exiting), and putting house slippers back on.  The toilet room was entirely separate from the room that had the sinks and there was no door between the two.  I didn’t realize, until the end of my time in Japan, that my Host Family’s toilet had a hand-washing sink on the back of it… every time one flushed, clean water ran so you could wash your hands.  Very cool.  Unfortunately, I went from the toilet room to the sink room every time after I used the toilet.  The room in which we took showers and baths was through a door in the sink room.  The bathing room was very cool.  It was one level onto which you stepped upon entering the room and then you stepped up to step down into the tub.  The shower spigot was a few feet away from the awesome tub so you could wash and rinse without getting any rinse water into the hot deep tub.  The tub was amazing.  It was re-circulated water kept hot by a heater that was part of the whole set-up.  I could sit in it and the water was up to my chest.  I could also stretch my legs out straight in front of me.  I could not lie down unless I bent my legs… but I was happy to just sit and soak.  I loved the baths!

I got a cold while in Japan and my Host Mother immediately put me on a schedule of dinner, bath, hot tea and off to bed.  It seemed a little silly to me, but that was one time I whipped through a cold much faster than was typically normal for me.  I’m sure the tea she gave was helpful, too… though I’m not sure what it was.  It also felt quite nice to be so carefully taken care of.  It seems that I’m generally perceived as a pretty tough chick… so it’s rare enough that anyone attempts to take care of me or be protective of me.  But I am a woman… and we all want to feel cherished and lovingly cared for… at least sometimes.  Anyway… it was nice to be cared for by my Host Mom.  And it definitely helped!

I also liked that the part of the school I attended expected us to remove our shoes to enter the main part of the building.  The rest of the campus wasn’t like that, but I’m glad my little building was!

The bike parking area near the train station I rode to from my Host Family’s home was quite cool.  There were bike racks, but no one used chains or anything else like that to lock up their bikes.  There were neat little keyed or coded locks that stuck the tire in place somehow.  I think it was more because the people were full of integrity, but being careful didn’t hurt either, I’m sure.  The little parking lot I used was attended by a security guard, too.  Very neat.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Thankful Thursday

I'm thankful for opportunities to make new friendly aquaintances... especially when those opportunities are provided my children AND me concurrently!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tricky Tuesday #8

A suggestion for you today.

If you desire to learn something for which you would love to take a class, but cannot afford to do so... seek out a local club that deals with your subject.  You can probably attend as a guest for at least a few meetings to see if you want to commit... and then, it's likely the membership dues are far more manageable than tuition, fees, and books for almost any given class you could attend.

I've been able to attend two out of the last three Garden Club meetings and they are wonderful.  They are a group of older ladies who are each a wealth of knowledge about plants and gardening.  I've learned so much each time and come away with cuttings and/or actual potted plants.  Most recently I was given two potted plants: a night flowering cereus and a pot with some vick's plants (plectranthus tomentosa) and easter lilies in it!  ^_^

Some reading on the Vick's plant (and toothache plant, which i hope to grow from seed soon).

Monday, December 10, 2012

Meditation Monday #20

Today is day 188 of my meditation journey.  Six and a half months in... definitely seems like that long as I reflect on the days, but overall... not at all!  Just like being a Mama... my sister once shared a quote that went something like: "The days are long, but the years are short."  A quick google search reveals that it's a quote by Gretchen Rubin in the Happiness Project.  Definitely about right for this process/endeavor of meditating daily.

This week has been good.  Still focusing on Kirtan Kriya and trying for 31 minutes each day.  I'm adding in some guided imagery meditation here and there.  I'll share on that method sometime in January after I have a bit more experience with the particular recordings I'm using and can share some details.  It's been 13 years since I actively used guided imagery meditation, so I'm excited to see how it goes this time.  I expect it should be interested, at the very least, because I am all too frequently a suggestible person as far as subconscious access goes.  It's a blessing and a curse, I tell ya!  ;)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Saturday Soliloquy #12

Another experience you simply cannot understand unless you’ve experienced it in Japan is Karaoke.  In the U.S.A. Karaoke, as I’ve seen it, is a caricature of that which exists in its country of origin!  In Japan there are Karaoke businesses.  These are buildings dedicated to Karaoke.  When you go, you usually go with a group.  You and your group are brought to a room fitted with seats, a table, a big screen and a method of choosing your songs to which you’ll sing.  You are assigned a waitress and can order appetizers and alcohol.  There may be places that have meals as well as appetizers, but I didn’t experience any.

Along with Karaoke, it’s interesting to note that drinking alcohol is a completely different thing in Japan compared to the US as well.  I mean, for instance, you can purchase humungous cans of beer from automated machines (like soda machines).  That is a whole thing in itself, too, the whole automated dispenser-thing!

Regarding alcohol, it seemed very much that there was not any stigma attached to the consumption of it.  The only problem that arose (socially speaking) as far as I could tell and was told, was if someone who drank was a mean drunk in public.  Otherwise it seemed like alcohol was viewed simply as a means to an end.  For instance, I learned it was pretty common practice for a boss to go out drinking with his employees for the express purpose that his employees might see him as a regular person and not the mean “bottom line” guy he has to be at work.  It was definitely seen as a social lubricant in Japan far more than I’ve ever known it to be accepted in the US.

As for the automated dispensers… well, if you can imagine that it might work in such a machine, I’m absolutely certain the Japanese could tell you if it works out as practically as it does in theory!  Seriously.  In addition to beer (and other alcohol to a lesser extent), you could find pantyhose, magazines, food, porn, movies, and more in such machines.  I’m absolutely certain I did not see as wide a variety of them as there are, in fact, available to be seen and purchased from.

Another automated sort of thing that was very different in Japan is that there were numerous video game/gaming spots.  Within each such place, you’re sure to find a mini-photo booth.  When I went to Japan, these photo booth pictures were popular enough that most of the tiny planners have a few pages specially dedicated to and made for them.  I heard, also, that there was a bit of trading of them that was popular.  They sure were fun!  The photo booths were one of my favorite activities, actually.  They could be found almost everywhere, not just in gaming places.

Although I didn’t experience it at all, there were also specific places for various forms of gambling.  Pachinko is one I can think of right off the top of my head.  I can’t tell you any more than the name because I never went in or played.  But I can tell you those shops/buildings/places were VERY well lit and noisy.  Regular shops were also lit well, but these gambling houses were almost TOO well lit.  This seems almost a direct opposite of the same sorts of places in the US… though I’ve never personally been to one in the US… I’m just basing that on what I’ve heard about them and seen in movies.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Thankful Thursday

I'm thankful for opportunities to spend time as an adult among other adults without concern over my littles.  It really can be a good thing to get away... though not too often!  ;)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Meditation Monday #19

Today is day 181 of my meditation journey.  So, as of now... I've been meditating almost every day for just around six months.  Can you believe it?  What started as a 40 day effort is more than six months along now.  YEAY!

I guess, maybe, I'm getting better at doing things for longish periods of time as I get older.  Who woulda thunk it.

It's too bad that some who should really know me better continue to think that this effort of mine is doing no good at all.  I guess those who should know us best often know us least of all.  This is definitely an expreience I've had all too often of late!

Thankfully, I experience the changes wrought by this tool.  I would not be able to continue against the attacks against my effort if I didn't KNOW it was making a difference.  Praise God for changing me bit by bit, but enough that I can know it!  :)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Saturday Soliloquy #11

When I went to Japan, I had very little understanding of the culture into which I was stepping.  I didn’t know what to expect in most instances.  One thing I thought I would understand without too much problem was the food.  I knew I loved sushi.  What more could I need to know?  Well, as it happens… a lot!

For instance… in Japan there are often displays of the kind of food prepared in a given restaurant.  You look at them and choose and then place your order.  Well, my first experience of this was rather embarrassing.  I thought the display was the food from which I should select… yes, some of the fake food looks THAT real.  So, I picked up the display and brought it along to where I thought I should pay for it.  There was much confusion – especially complicated by the fact that I spoke very little and understood probably less Japanese at the time of this incident.  Thankfully, when I went to Japan the Japanese were (still are from all I understand) so super polite that they would not make fun of me or laugh in my face as an American employee in the same situation would more than likely do.  I rarely blush.  But I think I must’ve been quite pink in the cheeks over that one!  I sure felt flushed!

Another difference that was quite fun is the sushi bars.  You think you know sushi bars, huh?  Have you BEEN to Japan?  Okay, I hear a no.  Well, then, my friend, you have NO clue.  Not all, I’m sure, but perhaps most of the sushi bars in Japan are far cooler than anything your experience can convey.  Convey.  Conveyor.  Conveyor belt.  Can you imagine little plates of sushi moving along a little conveyor belt either #1 from the kitchen, through a little plastic flap door, around your table, and back through another door into the kitchen or #2 on a conveyor belt circling endlessly around the sushi chef(s)?  Can you imagine it?  Well, if you can not, let me know and I’ll try to more adequately describe it for you!  It was awesome!  One thing about these sushi bars is that the sushi itself is priced based on what kind of plate it is sitting on.  If you’re not familiar with the pricing… well, it can get pretty steep pretty fast.  And they do have drinks on some of these conveyor belts… and those are stupid expensive.  And yes, it is upsetting and embarrassing to find out how much more expensive after you’ve selected one only to find out you really didn’t have permission to do that… but wasn’t told so from the outset.  *sigh* One of the problems of passive aggressive communication practices… and that’s basically almost all Japanese.

I’ve already mentioned the Korean BBQ restaurant.  That was super cool.  I sure would love to find something like that around these parts.  Highly unlikely, though, I’m sure… given that the nearest town to me is only of medium size… definitely not a megopolis or anything like that.

The other coolness that I especially loved was the Chinese restaurant my Host Family took me out to with some friends.  I definitely had the STRONG feeling of being their pet on display on that outing.  None-the-less, it was a great restaurant experience.  So, it was a Chinese place.  Our party had a room to itself.  Cool, I’m thinking.  There were two main tables.  I was put at the children’s table, which I’m sure was intended as a mean thing, but though I could feel that, I preferred to be among the younger folks.  In the middle of each table was a ginormous lazy susan.  Food was places on the lazy susans and we all selected food from the lazy susans to put on our own little plates and then eat.  It was very cool.  And though I do not remember any of the food items specifically, I did enjoy it quite a lot.  And the effort of the youth to include me in conversation and try to get to know me was quite nice, too… definitely experience far more of that among them than the adults among whom I “should’ve” been seated.  Boy, I’m glad I was insulted by being seated among the youth!  J

The final note about food is one that I’m pretty sure translates across all cultures.  I’m not absolutely certain on this, but I’m pretty sure given the natures of those involved are pretty static across cultures.  I reference the way that my Okaasan (Host Mother) spent hours preparing various foods so that my Otousan (Host Father) could enjoy the glory of preparing them at the table.  This was not a daily practice, but, rather, what happened for those meals that, apparently, my Otousan enjoyed fixing for the family.  All praise was directed toward the father even though all he did was nicely put the work together and then serve it.  Hmmmm…  Sound familiar?  This is not the primary mode of food preparation in my home, as my husband is a Chef… but there are times and it does annoy.  A common experience of this I can immediately think of is the “traditional” Thanksgiving dinner in many American homes.  My Host Mother seemed fine with it, though I think she did appreciate that I thanked her for preparing all the items used in dinner.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thankful Thursday

I'm thankful for happy things to look forward to and when good things happen for which I was hoping.

I'm thankful that the Lord provides me one of my Temple Angels almost every time I go to the temple... I feel SO very loved and cared for when these women greet me and hug me and say sweet things to me.  I've been chatting with some of them for right at six years now and I'm so grateful that they love so big and I am a benefactor!  :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tricky Tuesday #7

One of the ways just about everyone can use to make ends meet more easily without overtaxing the finances is to grow some food and then use it in pleasing ways.  My single most successful endeavor in gardening for 2012 would have to be sweet potatoes.  And we sure are enjoying the consuming of our efforts with them.  Actually... our efforts were minimal... especially considering how much we've reaped.  God is great!

This is the largest of all the potatoes we grew this year.

The five-gallon bucket full of sweet potatoes.

So far, we've enjoyed sweet potato bread the most.  We've also had some plain sweet potatoes and sweet potato pie with whipped cream.  All: YUM!  :)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Meditation Monday #18

Today is day 174 of my meditation journey.  I'm still focusing on Kirtan Kriya and completing a 31 minute meditation using it almost every day.  The only day I might not complete the full 31 is Friday, but this past Friday I did.  Yeay!  :)

I continue to feel the positive effects of meditation.  The biggest difference I feel is in my newfound ability to rescind others' ability to hurt me.  The story behind that is was a big seismic shift for me... paradigm shift big time, for sure!  I sure am grateful for it, too.

I'm also able to maintain a quiet mind and calm demeanor more often.  I still need much improvement in this area of my life, but the progress since I started meditating has been much more significant than any given period before I began meditating.

Praise God for awesome tools, which He provides that we (I) might progress!!!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Saturday Soliloquy #10

Japan Continues

(I'm sorry to have missed last week.  I've been having some personal life difficulties and haven't felt able to write about my life.  I'm one of those lame writers.)

Most gaijin (foreigners/cave people) stand out in some way or another.  Often, it is obvious by the foreigner’s appearance.  This was certainly the case for me.  At the time that I went to Japan, I was 5’3” tall, wearing about a size 18 pants, white blond hair, blue eyes, and slightly tan skin (which was super pale next to most Nihonjin: Japanese).  Given my appearance, I definitely wasn’t able to blend into any crowd.  I did stand out like a sore thumb.  Thankfully, Japanese are very polite and didn’t stare overtly.  I know that stalkers choose their focal obsession for many reasons.  I’m pretty sure my stalker in Japan chose me simply because I was so different looking.  My friends didn’t believe me when I first told them I had a stalker.  I felt a little bit like maybe I was imagining the whole situation.  But then he staled me when we (my friends and I) were together.  They were blown away and asked all kinds of questions about the situation and my seeming lack of concern over it.  It was very strange, I’ll freely admit, to see the same guy at numerous train stations who was obviously watching me in a very polite, Japanese, way.  But I was never actually afraid of him because I didn’t feel any alarms go off concerning him.  Now, one of my girlfriends was actually harassed by a Japanese man… he managed to mess with her skirt as she was riding home one day.  She was, rightfully, freaked out and I had the opportunity to feel extremely thankful that “my stalker” hadn’t come near me as far as I was able to tell.

Among my friends was a nice looking fella.  Danny is 6’ or so, thin, blue eyes, and at the time had waist length blond wavy hair.  Once, when he and I were out and about with our other friends during the afternoon or day time I observed that Japanese seemed really comfortable with him.  I even saw a number of different Japanese reach out and touch his hair.  I had never experienced anything like that – at least, nothing that was purposefully done in that sort of intentional way I observed them do with him.  This was puzzling to me at the time, but I’ve come to understand it as a clear demonstration of what protects me.  People just did not feel able to reach out to me.  This is generally true as well, I think.

I conducted at least one social experiment while I was in Japan, but I honestly do not remember any details!  I keep hoping to find/get my hands on a copy of the newsletter series I wrote while there, but haven’t just yet.  If I do, I’ll definitely share about that!
As a foreigner, there are certain things I was not expected to either know, know about, or like.  I’m grateful for this list, really, because it enabled me to coast a bit more given that I didn’t know a lot and I did NOT know ABOUT a lot!  Among the things I was expected not to know about or like were many food items.  Taco, nato, cow’s tongue were a few of the food items I was expected not to know about or like.  There were others, but I just don’t remember them.  As for taco… that’s octopus, I love/loved it!  My host family considered me baka da gaijin for this strangeness… that’s “silly foreigner” to be nice.  I did not previously know about nato and I did not like it.  I think, in a way, this was a relief to my host family.  Nato is fermented soy beans.  It has a horrid smell and amazingly snotty texture and… well, I just didn’t like it one bit.  As for cow’s tongue… that was a sneak attack!
My family took me to a Korean BBQ restaurant.  It was a really cool experience!  In the table of our booth there was an actual little BBQ.  My Host Father did the cooking honors (for as long as he wanted them, at least) and we enjoyed quite a bit of BBQ.  My family was always amazed at how much I ate and could eat.  They purchased numerous plates of meat and some veggies and we ate them all up.  There were numerous types of meat offered and served.  One of them they prepared and served me with, as I could see in hind-sight, special attention on me and my reactions.  I loved it!  It was “oishiidesu” and I told them so (delicious).  It took a little while for the question from them to me to come together in a way I could understand completely.  They were asking if I knew what it was.  Nope.  Then they told me, “It is cow’s tongue.”  They were, all four of them, paying close attention to my reaction.  I thought about it for a second and told them, “Okay, well, it’s still delicious!!”  They were shocked!  Then they asked if I wanted more and I told them that if there was more I would love it.  Again: shocked!  But it WAS delicious and learning which of the many muscles I’d eaten didn’t change that.  Anyway… it was pretty funny all around.  Much laughter about this at the table that evening… and I’m sure they told their friends what a strange foreigner I was and referenced my many odd behaviors with special emphasis on the foods I loved that were not meant to be well-favored by gaijin.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankful Thursday

I'm thankful for Thanksgiving... a special day to remember all kinds of reasons for thankfulness.

THIS Thanksgiving, I'm especially thankful for my brother Josh.  It's his birthday!!!  Happens every so often... and other years it's John's special day (born two years apart - on different dates, but the same holiday!).  ^_^  I'm thankful for the amazing man he has grown up to be.  We could all tell he would be such, but it's nice to see in action.  :)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tricky Tuesday #6

It's tricky to gather storage for humans, much less livestock.  I still haven't gathered much, but periodically we gather acorns.  Apparently, my goats love acorns.  We're not feeding them very many currently... and they seem to adore them in the way humans adore candy... so it's not something I could store for a primary food source... but the little bit we have put aside is a tiny bit of comfort.  A bit like buying one extra can of something or another each time we go to the grocery store.  It adds up over time.

Pretty recently (and repeatedly) we have been in such a financial position as to make buying even 1 extra can impossible.  And we still are not able to save any money each week.  But I think I'm going to be able to start buy 1 or 2 extra cans each week.  The thing about this effort, small though it may be... and tricky as it is (even currently) to buy one can and NOT use it... is that I'm going to exercise my Faith that Father God will make it possible for us to have enough (and more) with only that which we can forecase we will need.  That way, the one or two cans I plan for storage will remain there for a while (at least beyond the week in which they were purchased).  Along this train (of thought), I'm going to get some quarters as cash from the next purchase and put them in one of our 72 hour kits.  1 or 2 dollars each week will eventually make a difference... and, no, I will not do quarters EVERY time... but it IS a good idea to have a good stash of them.  One day we might have to evacuate and have only those packs with quarters and dollar bills... anything higher and the machines that give change may not be able to help us (you know the ones at the rest stops).  And if it came down to it, I'd much rather honestly get the goods, than otherwise.  :)

It can be super tricky, but let's encourage each other to make baby steps in Faith to building our food storage, that we may fearlessly abide the day!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Meditation Monday #17

Today is day 167 of meditating.  Meditation continues to be a part of my morning devotions with few exceptions.  Friday continues to be a difficult morning for me to meditate before I depart for my weekly appointment, but I did get it in this week!  :)

Some of the bigger changes I've notived include (and continue to be, in some instances): many fewer occurrances of emotional eating.  I find that I often feel quite hungry and realize it's been a while (3+ hours) since I last ate and that maybe I should do something about that.  If anyone would've told me that such a thing would happen as a result of anything I did, much less become increasingly consistent as I continued, I wouldn't have beleived them.

I've also noticed that remaining silent is becoming easier.  Now, I used to think that the only folks who read what I blabbed about here were those who knew me... but since I've seen people coming in to take a peek from all over the world, I think this must no longer be the case.  To that end, I must share that I'm a girl made of words.  My primary love language is Words Of Affirmation... I've always had a tendancy toward verbal vomit and then wondering later what it is I said that I should've have... I believe that I express myself better and more fully in writing than any other way....  Also, in case you haven't met me or interacted with me for longer than, say, the last 5 years, or so... I used to be the kind of person who ALWAYS had a retort for any and everything anyone else might say/do.  I still do... but, for the most part, I just don't speak them any more.  Sometimes, as has happened lately, I don't even bother to fully think them.  What's the point?  I've realized most folks don't care what I have to say anyway.

I guess that's one of the reasons I blog.  At least, if someone reads here, it's because they want to and care to some degree or another.  So, although I don't communicate openly or as frequently as I might prefer, for many reasons, at least I can share more here than anywhere else in my world - with FEW exceptions.  But I sure am thankful for those few women who have proven trustworthy... who I consider my dear friends.  They are treasures beyond measure!

By the way, I continue to focus on Kirtan Kriya.  I'm still doing the 31 minutes of that almost every day.  I also spend a few quiet minutes after I finish meditating and before I pray... so sort of let it sink in.  I would like to get the addiction meditation back in on a daily basis... so we'll see how that goes.  Just in case you'd like more specifics (because I would, if I were you): I wake up and read my Book of Mormon... usually just 1 chapter.  Then I read a few Chapters in The New Testament to total around 25 minutes or more of reading.  Then I meditate, which takes around 34 minutes, then I rest quietly for another 7-15 minutes, then I pray (which can be anywhere from 2-15 minutes).

I've been trying, since last week, to tithe on each day.  By that I mean, I'm trying to spend 2 hours and 40 minutes (or more) each day with God, focused on Him and doing what He has directed me to do alone and in worship.  I've only ever thought of this daily tithe in passing, but for some reason it seems very important for me to do NOW.  So, I try to get over an hour in each morning because in the evening I feel like i'm falling asleep reading and I don't want to do that.  Obviously, given this, I need to increase my morning time spent if the above outline is accurate.  It is, but only in minimums.  For the most part, I do spend more time reading than I've listed above.

If you'd like to share any of your own meditation experiences/insights, I sure would like to hear them.  Or any feedback about my own experiences, of course.  I just enjoy comment from those who read my Words (by this girl made of words).  ^_^

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thankful Thursday

I'm thankful for wonderfully thoughtful gifts.  The most thoughtful gifts, in my experience (my life) are those that observe a situation, see a need, and answer it without any request to that end.  I'm grateful for every one of them and every way in which they are offered/delivered!

(Thank you, Mom.  I haven't used the gift yet, but I sure am hoping to soon... and as you suggested because you saw a definite need I would like to fill.  ^_^)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tricky Tuesday #5

Finally... some pictures of the chicken coop portion of the goat shed/chicken coop structure in the part of our yard reserved for our pets (that are livestock)!

This is the front view of the goat shed, which is the back view of the chicken coop.
The chicken coop is, of course, on top.  Take note that there are protrusions
on either side of the chicken coop.  Those are nesting boxes.

Here we peek into the back of the chicken coop (the piece of plywood being lifted)
and see a waterer and a feeder in the middle and nesting boxes to either side.
Under the floor of the chicken coop, you can see a little bit into the goat shed.
We are looking in through the back door and UP.
Centered in the photo is the Wyendotte rooster
and a hen on each side of him.
You can kind of see into one level
of the nesting boxes off to the left.
Looking in through the back door again,
you see the nesting boxes on the right side
(looking at it from the back, of course).
And, of course, two hens on a roost.
This is the left side of the structure.
I hope you can see how the nesting boxes jut out just a little.
Oh, and do you see the home-made hinges on the nesting boxes?
Why yes, they are made of leather!
Nesting boxes on the left.
There are two levels and a divider in each,
for a total of 8 nesting boxes.
Wyendotte hens, one in each nesting box (lid lifted to look in).
This is looking directly at the right side of the structure.
Looking into the coop from a nesting box
on the right (when viewed from the back of the coop).
This is a view of the front of the chicken coop,
which is also the back of the goat shed.
The ladder for the chickens does NOT reach to the door.
Basically, it's just meant to help them
 get high enough to flap up to the door.
Almost the same perspective as the previous picture,
except that the opening into the coop is visible
because the board blocking it (in the first picture)
has been moved to the right (it juts above the height of the roof).
Although it's not perfectly discernable, the foundation of the structure was built by joining three pallets.  The pallets and other wood used in construction of this structure was either from pallets or used fencing material (all free).  And the hinges were made from old leather boots Jessie cut down and turned into hinges.  Although we did buy the boots, they were worn as footwear until the soles came off the leather uppers, so I call them free, too... since most folks would've put them in the landfill when they could no longer function as boots!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Meditation Monday #16

Still going.  I missed Friday this last week because of the confluence of a regular Friday morning appointment and feeling unable to awaken early enough to meditate before it most Fridays!  Working on getting it straight every week.  So far I've only meditated once on a Friday I had this appointment.  ahwell... I still consider 6 days per week pretty darn good.

I'm amazed that today is day 161 of meditating.  I'm just very happy about it.  I definitely believe, like most good activities one can add to their daily routine, it has a cumulative effect as well as an immediate!  :)

Oh, by the way, for the last couple weeks I've focused on Kirtan Kriya.  Only a couple days have I also included the meditation for addiction.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Saturday Soliloquy #9

I also began running while in Japan.  Running helped me control those anxious feelings.  I was able to lock them into thoughtlessness while I focused on breathing… I did not have an easy time running… as I was and had ever been relatively unhealthy and overweight.  However, while in Japan I shed many pounds and sizes.  My jeans, which fit pretty tightly upon my arrival, were hanging off of me when I returned to the USA.  How?  Why?  Many factors played into the weightloss.  One of the most important factors that impacted my weight was that activity was built into my whole day almost every day in Japan.  I rode my bike to the train station (about 15-20 minutes).  Then I walked little bits here and there between trains.  Then I walked about 25-30 minutes to school.  During the day at school there was often much walking going on (like to a grocery nearby to buy nashi).  And if we did anything after classes, we walked to get there.  To get home, I walked, walked a little and then biked.  That was 5 days each week.  Saturdays usually involved quite a bit of walking to go sight seeing, too.

Also, my okaasan was very controlling of the food.  She was shocked, I think, at how much I ate and limited my food consumption at home.  I ate breakfast and dinner there during the school week and, often, three meals on Saturdays and Sundays.  I often awoke feeling hungry in the night, but didn’t feel comfortable to go to the refrigerator to get anything to eat.  I definitely would not recommend THAT part of the weight loss.  Feeling hungry almost all the time just is NOT a comfortable feeling!

I think another factor that played into all of it was that the food was made differently.  Even breads and chocolate was less calorie dense.  That may also be part of why I was always hungry.  Who knows.

All told, I went from a snug size 16 to around a tight size 10 while I lived in Japan.  I liked the size I attained, but I didn’t like feeling hungry.  I sure would like to have activity built into my life that way again, but think it unlikely that I’ll ever get back to Japan.  I sure loved it while I was there, though!

Why?  Well, come back next week to read more and maybe find out a few reasons I loved it so well.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Thankful Thursday

I'm thankful that others have been posting much about thankfulness this month.  I have much to be thankful for, but haven't been up to keeping up with things lately.  So, I'm thankful that others are expressing thankfulness so widely.  It lifts my spirits.  I'm definitely thankful for that!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Saturday Soliloquy #8

Japan: Part 2

I attended Kansai Gai Dai Daigaku in Hirakata-shi.  I lived in Katano-shi.  It took me about an hour to get from my host family’s home to school.  I rode my bike to a bike parking lot near the eki (train station), locked it up with a neat tire lock that was the combination kind, rode the train with one changeover to Hirakata-shi and then walked about 30 minutes to my school.

The sheer horror I felt upon realizing that no one I knew was going to help me to know where to go from the changeover to my school was one of the most frightening things I’d experienced to that point in my life.  Thankfully, I’d taken it upon myself to get to know as many of the other foreign exchange students as I possibly could during our week before host family placement.

My host sister directed me to where I should go and I, a scared woosie, cowered inside myself and tried to follow her directions.  I kept wondering how I would ever know if I’d gone the right way!?  Surely I wasn’t going the right way and would end up somewhere far from where I should be!  You cannot imagine the degree and extent of my relief when I saw another foreign exchange student from Kansai on the platform I ended up at.  (I was elated to realize I had comprehended her directions AND executed them properly!)

The poor fella I recognized?  Well, I was so thrilled to realize I knew someone there that I ran up to him and embraced him with the exuberance that only someone who knew me back then would understand.  I’m not the person I used to be….

Anyway… the first couple weeks were full of anxiety and fears.  I had a difficult time acclimating to Japanese life.  Not that I disliked it.  I guess you have to understand who I was up to that point a little better.

Before I went to Japan, as I remember myself, I was a very shy person who was working on “fake it till you make it” outgoing-ness.  I was doing really darn well, apparently, because no one around me believed for a second that I was shy or introverted.  Yet, I definitely was.  When I was younger (before I absolutely HAD to start doing things for myself, working, and making purchases and whatnot), I was terrified of social interactions.  Even the simple kind of a barely communicating purchase at a fast food place seared me with dread.  I was shiver-me-timbers scared stiff.  Seriously.

I remember one time, when I was trying to do something or another online, I started to feel the room was shrinking around me.  It felt like I couldn’t breath.  Honestly, I thought I was going a bit nuts and burst away from what I was doing just as quickly as I could, jammed my outdoor shoes on and ran to the top of the hill to a small park of sorts.  It’s a quiet place I’d found.  I often escaped there during the school day when I felt the beginnings of that anxiety-attack feeling come upon me.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Meditation Monday #15

Meditation continues daily.  I've had to get up early a few times to make sure it happens, but it has.  I'm grateful for this tool of "peace integration" in my life.

Today is day 155 of meditating.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sunday Preach It

Much of time has been on my mind. Time spent. How was it spent? Did I spend it as the Lord would have had me spend it? My mind has been pondering time.

So the stream of thoughts I felt I almost observed flowing in my mind was particularly interesting to me.

I think I need to set this up more.

First, I believe most of us are way too dang busy. Our calendars are ordered by the hour with various appointments, dates, and to-do lists.

Second, I believe that most folks believe that the full calendars equate to fullness and satisfaction in life.  They see a full calendar and believe that this means they are doing something especially well and right.  This may be, but I think, more often than not, it just means that we are too busy.

Third, I believe that the most important things we can accomplish are things we can readily and easily do within the confines of our own homes – almost all the time.  Obviously, church and Temple attendance are two important exceptions for most folks.

Back to the stream of thoughts I was interested in that I felt myself almost apart from and observing:

It was a day a couple weeks ago in which I felt particularly happy and peaceful as I sat down absolutely alone, in a Chick-Fil-A with only one lunch to deal with, after visiting the Temple earlier.  It was the very first time in, literally, years that I’d been out by myself for any length of time.  While I was preggie with Jmy I went to the Temple alone a few times, but I never spent any more time away than the time it took to get there, work and get home.  So, this particular day a couple weeks ago was special and quite nice.

If someone had told me ten years ago that I would relish and be happy to sit alone to eat in a restaurant, I would’ve likely laughed them to scorn.  But, I was truly enjoying the feeling of having accomplished very little (but good things were accomplished) and probably not accomplishing much more upon returning home, other than the normal routine of straightening the house, milking the goat, eating dinner, and the bits preceding going to bed.

A pair of women took up the seat to my back.  They immediately began comparing the busy-ness and activity of their day.  Before one even finished a sentence, the other way chiming in with the things that she did that made her morning or the hour just prior busier than the other woman’s morning or hour.  It was not only one of them who did this.  It was a back-and-forth exchange.  They communicated about the busy of their lives like it was the most important thing they could possibly discuss.

Although it is contrary to who I desire to be and the life I am cultivating, I found a part of me wondering if maybe I wasn’t doing enough.  I’m speaking symbolically when I say that the strange stream of consciousness began small enough and was rather curious, so I paid a little attention.  As I paid it some heed, it seemed to surge and gain strength… it began to grow and I started to actually feel a concern that maybe my life was going in the wrong direction… perhaps I should be doing more, earning more, making more of myself.  I almost started to feel sad and unhappy with my quiet life when I realized what was happening and I slammed a wall in front of the head of that stream and quickly shoveled as much dirt on top as was necessary to staunch the flow of that stream.

One could easily begin to think that a life cultivated in quietness and worship is wrong and foolish if streams such as those are allowed to cut paths into belief and eventually become torrential and life altering rivers.

The following are a few memes I’ve run across on facebook that are particularly pertinent to my point:

Do you have any experiences like this?



Saturday, October 27, 2012

Saturday Soliloquy #7

Japan: Part 1

My trip to Japan was actually before my trip to Australia.  I’m glad, for the most part, but the awesomeness of Japan definitely outshone Australia as a result.  I think if I went to Australia first, I might not have been so disappointed with it.  Who knows.

So, I left for Japan in August of 2000.  I was only there for three and a half months, but those were some amazingly full months!

I wrote a newsletter about my experiences there, which I sent to a few people.  One of those people is my Mom… I rather hope she has copies of what I wrote.  I need to ask her.  However, I’m going to initially, at least, write my story of Japan as I would be left to tell it… from my memory now.  Since my children, especially Ria, ask me regularly to tell about my time in Japan, this really is the best way to do it.

Perhaps I should start before the trip with a few details.  First, it is important to know that my Dad’s limited time in Japan as a result of a Navy cruise definitely influenced my decision of destination to Japan as a foreign exchange student.  However, if I had not been taking Japanese with Ishibashi-sensei, I may not have seriously considered Japan when I started to think about doing exchange trips.

Ishibashi-sensei is such a spunky, smart, amazing lady that I wanted to be in her presence as much as possible.  So, I decided to add Japanese to the Education minor, which was necessary for me to become a teacher.  As a result of this choice, Ishibashi-sensei convinced me to go to Japan to complete the majority of the course requirements for my Japanese minor.  She conveyed how much more amazing and wonderful it would be to learn about Japanese religions and be able to visit shrines and temples IN Japan.  Because I was seriously planning to go SOMEwhere as an Exchange Student anyway and my Dad had such a great experience there, I was an easy sell on going to Japan.

As a result of getting all of my information submitted first, I won a travel scholarship.  That’s how my plane fare was paid.  What a huge blessing that was to me!

I worked full-time during that summer break and saved up somewhere around $1000.  Thankfully, at the time I went to Japan, the exchange rate was quite in US currency’s favor.  So, my $1000 US became a little bit more in Yen.

I honestly do not remember where I ran into them, but somewhere and somewhen I was out and about I happened to see and speak with some LDS Missionaries.  To be completely honest, I do not remember the meeting at all.  I only know it happened because I retained the business card of one of the missionaries I met.  His name was Elder Triplett.  As an interesting connection, these many years later, I am currently (2012) in DeLand 2 Ward with a brother of Elder Triplett.  Amazing, right?  Regardless, I know that this “chance” meeting that I don’t even remember was orchestrated by our loving Heavenly Father.  It was one of His Love notes to me.  He was showing me in a very real and concrete way that He knew where I was and that He was mindful of me… and wanted me to know that ministers of His Church would touch my life wherever I went (remember me meeting Elders in Sydney and then Perth, Australia!?).  This is a precious gift to my heart now, though I didn’t get it then.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Five Things For Friday

Things rarely go as I plan.  I was hoping to accomplish some grocery shopping on Monday, in preparation for the big week ahead.  Tea went ahead and climbed up and then subsequently fell off of a pretty low (but high enough) shelf in the toy room. Unfortunately the Shoenhut piano broke the impact of her head and left a nice 'T' shaped gash in her scalp. 
As a result of Tea's fall, I calmly and firmly directly Ria to place an emergency call to her Daddy.  She did is much better than last time... and last time she did a terrific job.  The gash had pretty much stopped bleeding on its own by the time Jessie arrived home (within 5 minutes of the call)... so long as I held it together.
Jessie applied skin glue, while I held the gash in place.  He then got excited and got Tea excited about a non-stick tape he'd seen (and wanted to buy) at Tractor supply.  If I'm correct, I believe they use this "tape" to tape up horses' forelegs.  Anyway... he bought pink zebra, which Tea was thrilled with... though she did say it was too bad there was no orange zebra... which is particularly funny since she asked for pink.  She ended up looking quite the punk rocker by Tuesday morning (this all happened Monday early afternoon, of course).  So, needless to say... the grocery trip (and mostly everything else, too) was put off.
Is it somehow true of everyone... or just me?  That when I have the most to do (or would like to get done) the least is accomplished?  *sigh*  That seems to be the case for this week... big birthday coming up... so of course it's uber difficult to accomplish what needs to be done!

I've now been blessed to visit the temple six weeks in a row.  The visit during the second week was just that, but it's still a visit to the temple!  :)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Thankful Thursday

I'm thankful for Tea!  Today is her fourth birthday.  I can hardly believe she's been in this world that long... and short.  I feel like she's always been with me and don't know how we could've ever been a family without her!  She's a wonder and a pleasure.  She's smart and considerate.  She is a super finder (and this is especially helpful for times like lately when I misplace things frequently).  She usually loves to help and do what she's asked.  She wants very much to learn how to do EVERYthing her big sisters know how to do.  She is usually a loving little AND big sister.  She is quite a proficient reader, for her age, and improving daily.  She is just wonderful and amazing!  I'm grateful our Heavenly Father chooses to preserve her with us each day she is!

My Mom has come in to town to celebrate Tea's 4th birthday.  I sure am thankful she's able to make it!!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tricky Tuesday #4

The chicken coop has been completely finished!  It looks amazing!!!

The underneath part, which is a goat shed, is also mostly complete.  It still needs a holder for hay and a couple holes covered up.  But the goats use it regularly, which is lovely to see!!!

The chickens, on the other hand... I hope we'll shut them up in it very soon (the Wyendottes, only) so that they learn to stay there and lay their eggs there for me!!

Jessie did a fabulous job executing my vision for the coop above the "shed"!  We don't have the sheckles (money) to buy hinges currently, but that didn't stop Jess from numerously hinging this beauty!!  Seriously!  It's awesome!!!

You want pictures?  Well, they'll come next week.  I've been rather busy and quite tired.  So, everything takes more time when those two combine!

I'll tell you a little, at least, for now:

So, the entry way for the goat shef faces the yard... so that we can see them enter/exit from the house if we look out.

The entrance for the chicken coop faces the opposite direction.

On both sides of the coop there are four nesting boxes that slightly jut out, thus not taking up valuable floor space.  On each side there are two levels of nesting boxes, each level has two boxes in it.  Thus we have 8 nesting boxes.  Since we have 8 hens currently, it seems to work out perfectly.  Of course, it's unlikely that they will lay in different boxes, but we're giving them plenty of room for it AND setting!  I sure hope the Wyendotte return to the broody behavior they exibited before moving here!

Each of the 4 levels of nesting boxes is hinged.  We had no money for hinges, so Jessie made hinges out of a pair of old leather shoes!!!  It looks amazing and works VERY well!!!

On the back of the coop there is a large hinged access door.  This door is so that we can add food and water and clean the floor.  To keep this door closed, Jessie installed a piece of wood with screws for stops on each side.  They flip up when I want to open the door and flip down to hold it closed.  Very nice.  Very resourceful!  Perfect for Tricky Tuesday!!

Oh, and ALL of the wood for this structure was free!  It can be tricky to save money... but it IS possible to make things happen even when resources are limited.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Meditation Monday #14

Meditation continues steadily.  Still daily, but I have switched things up a bit recently.  For the past week, I've been doing Kirtan Kriya almost exclusively.  I've done Meditation for Addiction a couple times, but I've done longer KKs most days.  It's been quite nice.  :)  Oh, and a couple times, I've done more of a guided imagery/breath meditation (without a recording), which has also been very nice.

Today is day 149 of meditating.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sunday Preach It

I was reading, not so long ago, in The Book of Mormon.  I felt an absolute clarity, as if I could see the truth of what I was reading super-imposed on our day.  I could see that it was absolutely and completely true for us here and now.  I've had this experience, to a lesser degree, while reading the Bible, too... but I'm going to share what I came across in The Book of Mormon because it was so much more clear and easy to understand.

If you know much of anything about fractals, The Mandlebrot Set, and other such phenomenon, you'll know that the past and the present are all the same and in it's place as a part of the greater picture it is also different.  It's all the same while still maintaining differences.  Doesn't it make perfect sense?

The situation long ago, in the ancient days that were contemporary to the authors of The Book of Mormon, was writing and to which he was referring were certainly different compared to now.  However, the subject about which he was referring is exactly the same, regardless of how it manifests itself: sin.

What I include next is going to be a bunch of verses from The Book of Mormon.  I'm going to link to the verses for you, too.  They will appear as though I am randomly copying and pasting, but their order is purposeful.  I see these verses direct applicability for now... our day....

"Wherefore, this land is consecrated unto him whom he shall bring. And if it so be that they shall serve him according to the commandments which he hath given, it shall be a land of liberty unto them; wherefore, they shall never be brought down into captivity; if so, it shall be because of iniquity; for if iniquity shall abound cursed shall be the land for their sakes, but unto the righteous it shall be blessed forever.
"And behold, it is wisdom that this land should be kept as yet from the knowledge of other nations; for behold, many nations would overrun the land, that there would be no place for an inheritance.
"Wherefore, I, Lehi, have obtained a promise, that inasmuch as those whom the Lord God shall bring out of the land of Jerusalem [homelands] shall keep his commandments, they shall prosper upon the face of this land; and they shall be kept from all other nations, that they may possess this land unto themselves. And if it so be that they shall keep his commandments they shall be blessed upon the face of this land, and there shall be none to molest them, nor to take away the land of their inheritancce; and they shall dwell safely forever.
"But behold, when the time cometh that they shall dwindle in unbelief, after they have received so great blessings from the hand of the Lord—having a knowledge of the creation of the earth, and all men, knowing the great and marvelous works of the Lord from the creation of the world; having power given them to do all things by faith; having all the commandments from the beginning, and having been brought by his infinite goodness into this precious land of promise—behold, I say, if the day shall come that they will reject the Holy One of Israel, the true Messiah, their Redeemer and their God, behold, the judgments of him that is just shall rest upon them.
"Yea, he will bring other nations unto them, and he will give unto them power, and he will take away from them the lands of their possessions, and he will cause them to be scattered and smitten.
"Yea, as one generation passeth to another there shall be bloodsheds, and great visitations among them; wherefore, my sons, I would that ye would remember; yea, I would that ye would hearken unto my words.
"O that ye would awake; awake from a deep sleep, yea, even from the sleep of hell, and shake off the awful chains by which ye are bound, which are the chains which bind the children of men, that they are carried away captive down to the eternal gulf of misery and woe.
"Awake! and arise from the dust, and hear the words of a trembling parent, whose limbs ye must soon lay down in the cold and silent grave, from whence no traveler can return; a few more days and I go the way of all the earth." (2 Nephi 1: 7-14)
"And men are instructed sufficiently that they know good from evil. And the law is given unto men. And by the law no flesh is justified; or, by the law men are cut off. Yea, by the temporal law they were cut off; and also, by the spiritual law they perish from that which is good, and become miserable forever.
"Wherefore, redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; for he is full of grace and truth.
"Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered.
"Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah, who layeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, being the first that should rise.
"Wherefore, he is the firstfruits unto God, inasmuch as he shall make intercession for all the children of men; and they that believe in him shall be saved.
"And because of the intercession for all, all men come unto God; wherefore, they stand in the presence of him, to be judged of him according to the truth and holiness which is in him. Wherefore, the ends of the law which the Holy One hath given, unto the inflicting of the punishment which is affixed, which punishment that is affixed is in opposition to that of the happiness which is affixed, to answer the ends of the atonement —
"For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my first-born in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.
"Wherefore, it must needs have been created for a thing of naught; wherefore there would have been no purpose in the end of its creation. Wherefore, this thing must needs destroy the wisdom of God and his eternal purposes, and also the power, and the mercy, and the justice of God.
"And if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not there is no God. And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon; wherefore, all things must have vanished away." (2 Nephi 2: 5-13)

"And, in fine, wo unto all those who die in their sins; for they shall return to God, and behold his face, and remain in their sins.

"O, my beloved brethren, remember the awfulness in transgressing against that Holy God, and also the awfulness of yielding to the enticings of that cunning one. Remember, to be carnally-minded is death, and to be spiritually-minded is life eternal.
"O, my beloved brethren, give ear to my words. Remember the greatness of the Holy One of Israel. Do not say that I have spoken hard things against you; for if ye do, ye will revile against the truth; for I have spoken the words of your Maker. I know that the words of truth are hard against all uncleanness; but the righteous fear them not, for they love the truth and are not shaken.
"O then, my beloved brethren, come unto the Lord, the Holy One. Remember that his paths are righteous. Behold, the way for man is narrow, but it lieth in a straight course before him, and the keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there; and there is none other way save it be by the gate; for he cannot be deceived, for the Lord God is his name.
"And whoso knocketh, to him will he open; and the wise, and the learned, and they that are rich, who are puffed up because of their learning, and their wisdom, and their riches—yea, they are they whom he despiseth; and save they shall cast these things away, and consider themselves folls before God, and come down in the depths of humility, he will not open unto them.
"But the things of the wise and the prudent shall be hid from them forever—yea, that happiness which is prepared for the saints.
 "O, my beloved brethren, remember my words. Behold, I take off my garments, and I shake them before you; I pray the God of my salvation that he view me with his all-searching eye; wherefore, ye shall know at the last day, when all men shall be judged of their works, that the God of Israel did witness that I shook your iniquities from my soul, and that I stand with brightness before him, and am rid of your blood.
"O, my beloved brethren, turn away from your sins; shake off the chains of him that would bind you fast; come unto that God who is the rock of your salvation.
"Prepare your souls for that glorious day when justice shall be administered unto the righteous, even the day of judgement, that ye may not shrink with awful fear; that ye may not remember your awful guilt in perfectness, and be constrained to exclaim: Holy, holy are thy judgments, O Lord God Almighty—but I know my guilt; I transgressed thy law, and my transgressions are mine; and the devil hath obtained me, that I am a prey to his awful misery.
"But behold, my brethren, is it expedient that I should awake you to an awful reality of these things? Would I harrow up your souls if your minds were pure? Would I be plain unto you according to the plainness of the truth if ye were freed from sin?" (2 Nephi 9: 38 - 47)
"Have ye walked, keeping yourselves blamelss before God? Could ye say, if ye were called to die at this time, within yourselves, that ye have been sufficiently humble? That your garments have been cleansed and made white through the blood of Christ, who will come to redeem his people from their sins?
"Behold, are ye stripped of pride? I say unto you, if ye are not ye are not prepared to meet God. Behold ye must prepare quickly; for the kingdom of heaven is soon at hand, and such an one hath not eternal life.
"Behold, I say, is there one among you who is not stripped of envy? I say unto you that such an one is not prepared; and I would that he should prepare quickly, for the hour is close at hand, and he knoweth not when the time shall come; for such an one is not found guiltless.
"And again I say unto you, is there one among you that doth make a mock of his brother, or that heapeth upon him persecutions?
"Wo unto such an one, for he is not prepared, and the time is at hand that he must repent or he cannot be saved!
"Yea, even wo unto all ye workers of iniquity; repent, repent, for the Lord God hath spoken it!
"Behold, he sendeth an invitation unto all men, for the arms of mercy are extended towards them, and he saith: Repent, and I will receive you.
"Yea, he saith: Come unto me and ye shall partake of the fruit of the tree of life; yea, ye shall eat and drink of the bread and the waters of life freely;
"Yea, come unto me and bring forth works of righteousness, and ye shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire—
"For behold, the time is at hand that whosoever bringeth forth not good fruit, or whosoever doeth not the works of righteousness, the same have cause to wail and mourn.
"O ye workers of iniquity; ye that are puffed up in the vain things of the world, ye that have professed to have known the ways of righteousness nevertheless have gone astray, as sheep having no shepherd, notwithstanding a shepherd hath called after you and is still calling after you, but ye will not hearken unto his voice!
"Behold, I say unto you, that the good shepherd doth call you; yea, and in his own name he doth call you, which is the name of Christ; and if ye will not hearken unto the voice of the good shepherd, to the name by which ye are called, behold, ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd.
"And now if ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd, of what fold are ye? Behold, I say unto you, that the devil is your shepherd, and ye are of his fold; and now, who can deny this? Behold, I say unto you, whosoever denieth this is a liar and a child of the devil.
"For I say unto you that whatsoever is good cometh from God, and whatsoever is evil cometh from the devil.
"Therefore, if a man bringeth forth good works he hearkeneth unto the voice of the good shepherd, and he doth follow him; but whosoever bringeth forth evil works, the same becometh a child of the devil, for he hearkeneth unto his voice, and doth follow him.
"And whosoever doeth this must receive his wages of him; therefore, for his wages he receiveth death, as to things pertaining unto righteousness, being dead unto all good works.
"And now, my brethren, I would that ye should hear me, for I speak in the energy of my soul; for behold, I have spoken unto you plainly that ye cannot err, or have spoken according to the commandments of God."  (Alma 5: 27-43)

"Now Alma, being grieved for the iniquity of his people, yea for the wars, and the bloodsheds, and the contentions which were among them; and having been to declare the word, or sent to declare the word, among all the people in every city; and seeing that the hearts of the people began to wax hard, and that they began to be offended because of the strictness of the word, his heart was exceedingly sorrowful."  (Alma 35:15)

"O all ye that are spared because ye were more righteous than they, will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you?

"Yea, verily I say unto you, if ye will come unto me ye shall have eternal life. Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive; and blessed are those who come unto me.
"Behold, I am Jesus Christ the Son of God. I created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are. I was with the Father from the beginning. I am in the Father, and the Father in me; and in me hath the Father glorified his name.
"I came unto my own, and my own received me not. And the scriptures concerning my coming are fulfilled.
"And as many as have received me, to them have I given to become the sons of God; and even so will I to as many as shall believe on my name, for behold, by me redemption cometh, and in me is the law of Moses fulfilled.
"I am the light and the life of the world. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.
"And ye shall offer up unto me no more the shedding of blood; yea, your sacrifices and your burnt offerings shall be done away, for I will accept none of your sacrifices and your burnt offerings.
"And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit. And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost, even as the Lamanites, because of their faith in me at the time of their conversion, were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not.
"Behold, I have come unto the world to bring redemption unto the world, to save the world from sin.
"Therefore, whoso repenteth and cometh unto me as a little child, him will I receive, for of such is the kingdom of God. Behold, for such I have laid down my life, and have taken it up again; therefore repent, and come unto me ye ends of the earth, and be saved." (3 Nephi 9: 13-22)

"And now, I speak also concerning those who do not believe in Christ.

"Behold, will ye believe in the day of your visitation—behold, when the Lord shall come, yea, even that great day when the earth shall be rolled together as a scroll, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, yea, in that great day when ye shall be brought to stand before the Lamb of God—then will ye say that there is no God?
"Then will ye longer deny the Christ, or can ye behold the Lamb of God? Do ye suppose that ye shall dwell with him under a consciousness of your guilt? Do ye suppose that ye could be happy to dwell with that holy Being, when your souls are racked with a consciousness of guilt that ye have ever abused his laws?
"Behold, I say unto you that ye would be more miserable to dwell with a holy and just God, under a consciousness of your filthiness before him, than ye would to dwell with the damned souls in hell.
"For behold, when ye shall be brought to see your nakedness before God, and also the glory of God, and the holiness of Jesus Christ, it will kindle a flame of unquenchable fire upon you.
"O then ye unblieving, turn ye unto the Lord; cry mightily unto the Father in the name of Jesus, that perhaps ye may be found spotless, pure, fair, and white, having been cleansed by the blood of the Lamb, at that great and last day.
"And again I speak unto you who deny the revelations of God, and say that they are done away, that there are no revelations, nor prophecies, nor gifts, nor healing, nor speaking with tongues, and the interpretation of tongues;
"Behold I say unto you, he that denieth these things knoweth not the gospel of Christ; yea, he has not read the scriptures; if so, he does not understand them.
"For do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing?
"And now, if ye have imagined up unto yourselves a god who doth vary, and in whom there is shadow of changing, then have ye imagined up unto yourselves a god who is not a God of miracles.
"But behold, I will show unto you a God of miracles, even the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and it is that same God who created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are.
"Behold, he created Adam, and by Adam came the fall of man. And because of the fall of man came Jesus Christ, even the Father and the Son; and because of Jesus Christ came the redemption of man.
"And because of the redemption of man, which came by Jesus Christ, they are brought back into the presence of the Lord; yea, this is wherein all men are redeemed, because the death of Christ bringeth to pass the resurrection, which bringeth to pass a redemption from an endless sleep, from which sleep all men shall be awakened by the power of God when the trump shall sound; and they shall come forth, both small and great, and all shall stand before his bar, being redeemed and loosed from this eternal band of death, which death is a temporal death.
"And then cometh the judgement of the Holy One upon them; and then cometh the time that he that is filthy shall be filthy still; and he that is righteous shall be righteous still; he that is happy shall be happy still; and he that is unhappy shall be unhappy still.
"And now, O all ye that have imagined up unto yourselves a god who can do no miracles, I would ask of you, have all these things passed, of which I have spoken? Has the end come yet? Behold I say unto you, Nay; and God has not ceased to be a God of miracles.
"Behold, are not the things that God hath wrought marvelous in our eyes? Yea, and who can comprehend the marvelous works of God?
"Who shall say that it was not a miracle that by his word the heaven and the earth should be; and by the power of his word man was created of the dust of the earth; and by the power of his word have miracles been wrought?
"And who shall say that Jesus Christ did not do many mighty miracles? And there were many mighty miracles wrought by the hands of the apostles.
"And if there were miracles wrought then, why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? And behold, I say unto you he changeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles.
"And the reason why he ceaseth to do miracles among the children of men is because that they dwindle in unbelief, and depart from the right way, and know not the God in whom they should trust.
"Behold, I say unto you that whoso believeth in Christ, doubting nothing, whatsoever he shall ask the Father in the name of Christ it shall be granted him; and this promise is unto all, even unto the ends of the earth.
"For behold, thus said Jesus Christ, the Son of God, unto his disciples who should tarry, yea, and also to all his disciples, in the hearing of the multitude: Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature;
"And he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned;
"And these signs shall follow them that believe—in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover;
"And whosoever shall believe in my name, doubting nothing, unto him will I confirm all my words, even unto the ends of the earth.
"And now, behold, who can stand against the works of the Lord?  Who can deny his sayings? Who will rise up against the almighty power of the Lord? Who will despise the works of the Lord? Who will despise the children of Christ? Behold, all ye who are despisers of the works of the Lord, for ye shall wonder and perish.
"O then despise not, and wonder not, but hearken unto the words of the Lord, and ask the Father in the name of Jesus for what things soever ye shall stand in need.  Doubt not, but be believing, and begin as in times of old, and come unto the Lord with all your heart, and work out your own salvation with fear and trembling before him.
"Be wise in the days of your probation; strip yourselves of all uncleanness; ask not, that ye may consume it on your lusts, but ask with a firmness unshaken, that ye will yield to no temptation, but that ye will serve the true and living God.
"See that ye are not baptized unworthily; see that ye partake not of the sacrament of Christ unworthily; but see that ye do all things in worthiness, and do it in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God; and if ye do this, and endure to the end, ye will in nowise be cast out." (Mormon 9: 1-29)

"Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.

"And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
"And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.
"And whatsoever thing is good is just and true; wherefore, nothing that is good denieth the Christ, but acknowledgeth that he is.
"And ye may know that he is, by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore I would exhort you that ye deny not the power of God; for he worketh by power, according to the faith of the children of men, the same today and tomorrow, and forever."  (Moroni 10: 3-7)

That's it for the Book of Mormon quotes. 
If you're still 'thirsty,' feel free to continue on!

Next, I'm including a whole talk by Marion G. Romney (from way back in October 1975, but even more pertinent today than it was then!) because it's totally pertinent to the subject of this whole post.  I'm going to highlight parts and also write my own commentary as I desire in a different color from the standard black of the type in the talk.  It's a bit long, and if you've made it this far... I'm super impressed.  I hope you will continue with me and see what we can see:

America’s Destiny

Marion G. Romney

My beloved brothers and sisters, I invite you to join in a prayer that while I speak you and I may both enjoy the Spirit. I will give you a lesson today that the Lord has taken great pains to bring to us.

Among the questions frequently raised in connection with our upcoming national bicentennial is “Can we maintain our basic freedoms, peace, and prosperity for another 200 years?”
The answer to this question is yes, if we shall individually repent and conform to the laws of the God of this land, who is Jesus Christ.
He has stated the basics of his laws in the Ten Commandments, the Sermon on the Mount, and in the two great commandments:
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. …
“And … thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (Matt. 22:37, 39.)
Millennia ago he declared: “There shall none come into this land [he was speaking of America] save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord.
“… this land is consecrated unto him whom he shall bring. And if it so be that they shall serve him according to the commandments which he hath given, it shall be a land of liberty unto them.” (2 Ne. 1:6–7.)
Another ancient prophet said,
“This is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ.” (Ether 2:12.)
It is my purpose in making these remarks to point out from the record of ancient inhabitants of America that the foregoing decrees have been carried out.
In the western part of the state of New York near Palmyra is a prominent hill known as the “hill Cumorah.” (Morm. 6:6.) On July twenty-fifth of this year, as I stood on the crest of that hill admiring with awe the breathtaking panorama which stretched out before me on every hand, my mind reverted to the events which occurred in that vicinity some twenty-five centuries ago—events which brought to an end the great Jaredite nation.
You who are acquainted with the Book of Mormon will recall that during the final campaign of the fratricidal war between the armies led by Shiz and those led by Coriantumr “nearly two millions” of Coriantumr’s people had been slain by the sword; “two millions of mighty men, and also their wives and their children.” (Ether 15:2.)
As the conflict intensified, all the people who had not been slain—men “with their wives and their children” (Ether 15:15)—gathered about that hill Cumorah (see Ether 15:11).
“The people who were for Coriantumr were gathered together to the army of Coriantumr; and the people who were for Shiz were gathered together to the army of Shiz. …
“Both men women and children being armed with weapons of war … did march forth one against another to battle; and they fought all that day, and conquered not.
“And it came to pass that when it was night they were weary, and retired to their camps; and … took up a howling and a lamentation for the loss of the slain of their people.” (Ether 15:13, 15–16.)
This routine was repeated day after day until “they had all fallen by the sword, save it were Coriantumr and Shiz.” Shiz himself “had fainted with the loss of blood.
“And it came to pass that when Coriantumr had leaned upon his sword, [and] rested a little, he smote off the head of Shiz.
“And it came to pass that after he had smitten off the head of Shiz, that Shiz raised upon his hands and fell; and after that he had struggled for breath, he died.
“And it came to pass that Coriantumr fell to the earth, and became as if he had no life.” (Ether 15:29–32.)
Thus perished at the foot of Cumorah the remnant of the once mighty Jaredite nation, of whom the Lord had said, “There shall be none greater … upon all the face of the earth.” (Ether 1:43.)
As I contemplated this tragic scene from the crest of Cumorah and viewed the beautiful land of the Restoration as it appears today, I cried in my soul, “How could it have happened?”
The answer came immediately as I remembered that some fifteen to twenty centuries before their destruction, as the small group of their ancestors was being divinely led from the tower of Babel, the Lord “would that they should come forth even unto [this] land of promise, which was choice above all other lands, which the Lord God had preserved for a righteous people.
“And he had sworn in his wrath unto the brother of Jared [their prophet-leader], that whoso should possess this land … from that time henceforth and forever, should serve him, the true and only God, or they should be swept off when the fulness of his wrath should come upon them.
“And now, we can behold the decrees of God concerning this land,” wrote the ancient prophet-historian, “that it is a land of promise; and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall serve God, or they shall be swept off when the fulness of his wrath shall come upon them. And the fulness of his wrath cometh upon them when they are ripened in iniquity.
“For behold, this is a land which is choice above all other lands; wherefore he that doth possess it shall serve God or shall be swept off; for it is the everlasting decree of God.” (Ether 2:7–10.)
Pursuant to this decree concerning the land of America, the Jaredites were swept off in the manner we have reviewed, because, rebelling against the laws of Jesus Christ—the God of the land—they “ripened in iniquity.”
Nor were they the only people who anciently were divinely led to this choice land to grow in righteousness to be a mighty nation and then to deteriorate in wickedness until they ripened in iniquity and were, pursuant to God’s decree, swept off.
I emphasize “divinely led” because, as above indicated, the Lord told them that they were being so led, and “that there shall none come into this land save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord.
“Wherefore, this land is consecrated unto him whom he shall bring. And if it so be that they shall serve him according to the commandments which he hath given, it shall be a land of liberty unto them; wherefore, they shall never be brought down into captivity; if so, it shall be because of iniquity; for if iniquity shall abound cursed shall be the land for their sakes, but unto the righteous it shall be blessed forever.” (2 Ne. 1:6–7.)
This second civilization to which I refer, the Nephites, flourished in America between 600 B.C. and A.D. 400. Their civilization came to an end for the same reason, at the same place, and in the same manner as did the Jaredites’. From the account of their death struggle, I quote:
“And now,” says Mormon, their historian, “I finish my record concerning the destruction of my people, the Nephites. And it came to pass that we did march forth before the Lamanites … to the land of Cumorah. … And when … we had gathered in all the remainder of our people unto the land of Cumorah, … my people, with their wives and their children, did … behold the armies of the Lamanites marching towards them; and with that awful fear of death which fills the breasts of all the wicked, did they await to receive them.
“And it came to pass that they did fall upon my people with the sword, and with the bow, and with the arrow, and with the ax, and with all manner of weapons of war.
“And it came to pass that my men were hewn down, yea, even my ten thousand who were with me, and I fell wounded in the midst; and they passed by me that they did not put an end to my life.
“And when they had gone through and hewn down all my people save it were twenty and four of us, (among whom was my son Moroni) and we having survived the dead of our people, did behold on the morrow … from the top of the hill Cumorah, [230,000] of my people who were hewn down, …
“Even all my people, save it were those twenty and four who were with me, and also a few who had escaped into the south countries, and a few who had dissented over unto the Lamanites, had fallen. …
“And my soul was rent with anguish, … and I cried:
“O ye fair ones, how could ye have departed from the ways of the Lord! … How could ye have rejected that Jesus, who stood with open arms to receive you!
“Behold, if ye had not done this, ye would not have fallen. …
“O ye fair sons and daughters, ye fathers and mothers, ye husbands and wives, … how is it that ye could have fallen! …
“O that ye had repented before this great destruction had come upon you.” (Morm. 6:1, 4, 5, 7, 9–11, 15–19, 22.)
Moroni a little later wrote:
“Behold I, Moroni, do finish the record of my father, Mormon. …
“… after the great and tremendous battle at Cumorah, … the Nephites who had escaped into the country southward were hunted by the Lamanites, until they were all destroyed.
“And my father also was killed by them, and I even remain alone to write the sad tale of the destruction of my people.” (Morm. 8:1–3.)
The tragic fate of the Jaredite and the Nephite civilizations is proof positive that the Lord meant it when he said that this “is a land of promise; and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall serve God, or they shall be swept off when the fulness of his wrath shall come upon them. And the fulness of his wrath cometh upon them when they are ripened in iniquity.” (Ether 2:9.)
This information, wrote Moroni, addressing himself to us who today occupy this land, “cometh unto you, O ye Gentiles” (now, Gentiles is the term used by the Book of Mormon prophets to refer to the present inhabitants of America and to the peoples of the old world from which they came), “[this] cometh unto you, O ye Gentiles, that ye may know the decrees of God—that ye may repent, and not continue in your iniquities until the fulness come, that ye may not bring down the fulness of the wrath of God upon you as the inhabitants of the land have hitherto done.
“Behold, this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ.” (Ether 2:11–12.)
In 1492, in harmony with the Lord’s statement heretofore quoted, “that there shall none come into this land save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord” (2 Ne. 1:6), Columbus was divinely led to America.
Away back between 590 and 600 years B.C., Nephi, looking in vision down the stream of time, “beheld a man among the Gentiles [that is, among the nations of Europe], who was separated from [this promised land] by the many waters; and I beheld,” said he, “the Spirit of God, that it came down and wrought upon the man; and he went forth upon the many waters, even unto … the promised land.
“And it came to pass that I beheld the Spirit of God, that it wrought upon other Gentiles; and they went forth … upon the many waters.
“And it came to pass that I beheld many multitudes of the Gentiles upon the land of promise.” (1 Ne. 13:12–14.)
Columbus himself corroborated the fact that he was divinely led to this land.
“In the royal presence of Isabella, Irving [his biographer] says: ‘He unfolded his plans with eloquence and zeal for he felt himself, as he afterwards declared, kindled as with a fire from on high, and considered himself the agent chosen of heaven to accomplish the grand design.
“His son Fernando, in the biography of his father quotes him as saying on one occasion: ‘God gave me the faith and afterwards the courage so that I was quite willing to undertake the journey.’
“And the will of Columbus reads:
‘In the name of the … holy trinity, who inspired me with the idea and afterwards made it perfectly clear to me that I could navigate and go to the Indies from Spain, by traversing the ocean westward.’ ” (Nephi Lowell Morris, Prophecies of Joseph Smith and Their Fulfillment, Deseret Book, 1945, pp. 289, 294–95; italics added.)
Because Columbus was led, we are here in this choice land.
God gave us victory in the Revolutionary War. We are indebted to him for our nation’s independence. He has prospered us in every righteous endeavor. He established the Constitution of the United States “by the hands of wise men whom [he] raised up unto this very purpose.” (D&C 101:80.)
He himself with his Beloved Son appeared to the Prophet Joseph Smith to open a new dispensation of the gospel of Jesus Christ here in this land. He has established his Church here and has sent and is sending representatives thereof into every nook and corner of the land—and as far as possible to all the earth—to declare and teach the laws of Jesus Christ, the God of this land.
He has revealed anew and repeated over and over again the ancient decree: “This is a land which is choice above all other lands; wherefore he that doth possess it shall serve God or shall be swept off; for it is the everlasting decree of God” concerning this land. (Ether 2:10.)
This knowledge has been revealed to us that we “may know the decrees of God—that [we] may repent, and not continue in [our] iniquities until the fulness come, that [we] may not bring down the fulness of the wrath of God upon [us] as the inhabitants of the land have hitherto done.” (Ether 2:11.)
We are living in the dispensation of the fulness of times, which will be climaxed by the second advent of the Lord Jesus Christ. Concerning the approach of that event and what is in store for the inhabitants of the earth between now and then, the Lord said 144 years ago:
“The wrath of God shall be poured out upon the wicked without measure. …
“Wherefore the voice of the Lord is unto the ends of the earth, that all that will hear may hear.”
And this is his message: “Prepare ye, prepare ye for that which is to come, for the Lord is nigh;
“And the anger of the Lord is kindled, and his sword is bathed in heaven, and it shall fall upon the inhabitants of the earth. …
“The hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand, when peace shall be taken from the earth, and the devil shall have power over his own dominion.
“And also the Lord shall have power over his saints, and shall reign in their midst, and shall come down in judgment upon … the world.” (D&C 1:9, 11–13, 35–36.)
Now my beloved brethren and sisters everywhere, both members of the Church and nonmembers, I bear you my personal witness that I know that the things I have presented to you today are true—both those pertaining to past events and those pertaining to events yet to come. The issue we face is clear and well defined. The choice is ours. The question is: Shall we of this dispensation repent and obey the laws of the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ, or shall we continue to defy them until we ripen in iniquity?
That we will repent and obey and thereby qualify to receive the blessings promised to the righteous in this land, I humbly pray in the name of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer. Amen.

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