A good day to spend in a good place

This past Thursday was absolutely wonderful. Before I mention the temple, let me just state how much I love tithing and how grateful I am that it is now online, not only do I no longer have to wait to pay my tithing but I also no longer have to keep the tithing slips because they are now all online. Tithing is a great blessing, I know it has helped me in my life. All the Lord asks for is 1/10th of what we earn. That is little to nothing in the grand scheme of things when he has given us so many beautiful things, such as the temple.

I had the opportunity to go to the Dallas Texas Temple to help watch some kids for a family while they spent time doing a session in the temple.

We walked around the part of the grounds that was available to walk around, talked about different things in our lives, watched a few LDS videos, and did some puzzles. In fact, I even drew a lion. But one main thing struck me and stuck with me all weekend.

As we were sitting there watching the video On the Way Home, I was asked many questions. One of which was probably the most important question out of all they asked, will their family be together forever?

Even though the family in On the Way Home is a fictional one, I responded that yes they would be together forever because they all chose to be baptized into the Lord’s church and be reunited with their lost family members in the future. I was so glad that they had asked that and that I could proudly and confidently state that they would be together again and would have forever together.

There are many people who don’t understand this blessing that we have been given, but when an effort is put into understanding, that is where the truth can shine.

Maybe they already knew the answer to their question, maybe they were testing me, but whatever their reason for asking I am so grateful. They helped me realize with a surety that no matter what befalls you, there is always the opportunity to be together again, no matter how long  or how much effort it takes. Families can be together forever.

As we were watching this is reminded me of my own family. Now, we are quite different from the family in the movie because we aren’t converts, have more boys than girls in our family, and have not lost a sibling early due to an accident that caused a death. But, we are similar in the fact that we have lost someone. Not to death, no. But to a fate that might even be worse than death right now.

We have lost one of my brothers, all his life he was faithful to the gospel, he did everything he was supposed to: got his eagle, went on a mission, loved the gospel. I know he truly believed or he wouldn’t have chosen to do any of these things. However, he met a girl and she influenced him for the worse. He has stopped coming to church, has moved away, and I have seen a great change in how he interacts with us. Every once in a while, his old self will shine through proving that he hasn’t changed entirely, but this new self is not the brother I know and love. He is different.

However, this doesn’t ruin my knowledge of the gospel and how I know that no matter what he will come back. I know my brother. He doesn’t want to be stuck like this. He does want to come to church and one day I am sure he will, but that day is not today. Just as the family was angry about their sister being taken, I was angry about my brother being taken. But I have learned that no matter what, God knows what He is doing. He knows that we have worries and He knows what will come. We just need to trust in Him and He will make everything better. All things are better through Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and I sincerely believe that. I can’t wait to be truly reunited with my brother, even if it isn’t in this life. I dearly hope it will be, but if it isn’t there is a reason. Nothing happens without a reason.

This day has by far been my favorite day of the week. It brought me so much peace to just be able to spend 3 hours at the temple and I am absolutely grateful for this gorgeous building. I love the temple and I love that the plan of salvation exists for all of us. We are all children of our Heavenly Father and he truly loves each and every one of us and doesn’t want to lose any of us.

He lives in us, so let’s live for Him.

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A good day 🙂

The smile that was on my face all day, nothing could remove it and I am so grateful for the ability I have to recognize the beauty in all things, even when the temple grounds are being torn up and repaired. Nothing could stop the temple from being gorgeous, look at this picture.

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Dallas Texas Temple

  1. I love to see the temple.
    I’m going there someday
    To feel the Holy Spirit,
    To listen and to pray.
    For the temple is a house of God,
    A place of love and beauty.
    I’ll prepare myself while I am young;
    This is my sacred duty.
  2. 2. I love to see the temple.
    I’ll go inside someday.
    I’ll cov’nant with my Father;
    I’ll promise to obey.
    For the temple is a holy place
    Where we are sealed together.
    As a child of God, I’ve learned this truth:
    A fam’ly is forever.

With that, fare thee well!!

Karen Alyse

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December 9th Talk that I never posted on here…OOPS.

This is the COMPLETE text of what I said as I was speaking in my Church’s meeting on December 9th. All of it. I know that it is true and I feel like you will be able to enjoy some of what I said, if not all. Fare thee well! –Karen Alyse

Here is the Talk:

Good morning, I am Karen Billings for those of you who don’t know me. I was asked to speak on the topic of by small and simple things. As I was researching this topic, there was a specific scripture that kept showing up, Alma 37: 6-7, which reads:

6 Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.

7 And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls.

Small and simple things are oftentimes the most important and appreciated actions you could do. In a talk from September of 2011, Elder Shayne M. Bowen of the Seventy told a story of “three horsemen who were riding across a desert. As they crossed the dry bed of a river, out of the darkness a voice called, “Halt!” They obeyed. The voice then told them to dismount, to pick up handfuls of pebbles, put the pebbles in their pockets, and remount. The horsemen followed the instructions.

The voice then said, “If you have done as I commanded, tomorrow at sunup you will be both glad and sorry.” The horsemen rode on. When the sun rose, they reached into their pockets and found that a miracle had happened. The pebbles had been transformed into diamonds and other precious stones.

The horsemen remembered the warning that they would be both glad and sorry. They were glad they had taken some pebbles, sorry they had not taken more.”

There are times when we are prompted to do things and we only do them half-heartedly or partially. For example, in the story the horsemen were told to pick up pebbles and place them in their pockets. The reason they were sad when the sun rose was most likely because they had listened to the voice, yes, but only to an extent. They didn’t fill their pockets with pebbles entirely because they thought it would be cumbersome and would just make more work for themselves, instead they picked up a few pebbles and placed them in their pockets. When they realized the pebbles had turned into gems they wished they hadn’t done the minimum, they were regretting that they hadn’t picked up more. We do this every day in our lives. We have the opportunity and the ability to pick up extra “pebbles”, but we don’t always take advantage of that chance.

Elder Bowen later stated in his talk, “Sometimes as we move through our journey here below, we underestimate the value of the precious pebbles that God places in our paths. These pebbles may seem small and insignificant, but in reality they are treasures of eternal worth.

“Remember the voice that says, “Fill your pockets”? We sometimes hear another voice saying, “Don’t worry. They are only pebbles. They will slow you down. They will be heavy and cumbersome to carry. It’s just not worth the hassle. Besides, if they are that important, your friends will have some extras.”

As we go through our daily activities we hear that voice often, it is a voice that rationalizes the fact that we didn’t do more when we could have. We depend on others for so many things when we don’t do all that we can. It could be bringing your scriptures to church or even not doing your homework and planning on your friends being able to help you on it. If we do all that we can, even if it is only a small action, we will be better off.

I found a story from the November 2009 Friend that fit so well with this topic. The story is titled, “By Small and Simple Things”. As you go through the story it tells of these two young kids who find out about a tsunami that destroyed many peoples’ homes and made it hard for them to find clean clothes, food, or even clean water to drink. They saw their mother filling out a donation slip for the survivors and wanted to help immediately. The two kids both gave their mom their allowance for that month and all of the money they had been saving the whole year. They didn’t think that their meager amount of money would help very many people; however, they found out that their example of giving all of the money they had, helped other people to donate more money than they would have. The two children were overjoyed that they were an example to others in giving all that they could.

As it is the Christmas season, I felt I should share part of the lyrics to one of my favorite Christmas songs with you. It is called “The Christmas Shoes” by Newsong. The song focuses on a little boy who’s mother’s heart is failing, all he wants is to get her a pair of shoes so that she will look beautiful when she meets Jesus. He works so hard to save all the money he can so that he will be able to buy this pair of shoes for her. When he gets in line to buy the shoes and is told that he doesn’t have enough money, he is devastated; he has done everything in his power to get her these shoes. He turns to this man who is standing in line behind him and says “Tell me sir, what am I going to do, somehow I’ve got to buy her these Christmas shoes”. Now, the man has the option of turning the little boy down and rationalizing that he has enough on his plate, and he doesn’t need to help this boy out. However, this is one of those pebbles to gems moments. The lyrics to the song say “So I laid the money down, I just had to help him out, I’ll never forget the look on his face when he said Mama’s gonna look so great”, the man chose to place a little bit of money down to help the boy buy shoes for his mother, later in the song the man mentions that when he helped the little boy he caught a glimpse of Heaven’s love and that the little boy had reminded him what Christmas was all about. This man did all he could to help this little boy. He definitely turned his pebbles to gems.

I know that we, in our daily lives, think mostly about ourselves each day and don’t focus on others. Since Christmas is in just 2 weeks, I think we should focus on serving others by small and simple things as much as we possibly can. I’m not saying that we should only do that for these next 2 weeks because we should always be looking for service opportunities. Whether it is to smile at someone or make something for them, we should find ways to serve by small and simple things all the time.

I know that when we serve others by small and simple things or just recognize that small and simple things bring great things to pass, we will feel better throughout our lives.  We will find things to do that may not be specifically for one person; it may be that we donate to an organization or we find another way to help others. Anything you do will help you become a better person. I know that we can turn pebbles to gems as we go through our daily lives. I know that if we focus on the small things we can do, they will bring great things to pass. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

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Fare thee well!

Karen Alyse