Friday, April 29, 2011

The Dangerous Book for Moms: Chapter 3

Right about now, you might be anticipating starting the month of May.

Not me.

I'm heading into:
The Month of Me.

What is the Month of Me?

Well, to be clear, it is not a month of self-indulgence or selfishness.
And it's not a mid-life crisis type of month where I stop making dinner and neglect my kids!

It IS a month to rediscover, rejuvenate, and reacquaint myself...with....MYSELF.

Some of you are very good at taking care of yourselves, but I admit that I am not.  Oh, I'm not neglected by any means.  My "problem" is that I live a lot like I drive.  When I want to get somewhere on a project, I put the pedal to the metal, and it's full-speed ahead.  If I am excited about something that I want to teach  my kids, then I put 110% of my energy and time into that project.  I actually LOVE doing this...(duh, as if that wasn't obvious!)...but I think it's time to stop for gas, to slow-down and take in the scenery, and to think about which destinations I personally want to add to my trip-tick in life.

In order to do this, I am going to be re-exploring things that I used to do in my "previous life":


For instance, in my previous life, I used to liked to dress up, 
stalk hang out with celebrities, and wear the color red.  


I also liked to play sports, read books, and sleep.


I liked to ask a lot of questions of people I barely knew.
And I loved to write poetry.

I still love to write...but what about the other stuff?

Do I still like to do the things I once loved?  CAN I still do them?
Is there room for them in my life now?

This month is an opportunity for me to make time for the things that once made me Me, so that I can put more of Me into my mothering in the future.

The Month of Me is an all-month theme that I'm going to use to guide my decisions about how I spend my time.  Here are the only rules to remember, if you'd like to join me:

1.  Do things that I WANT to do.
2.  Do things that contribute in some way to my WELL-BEING. (physical, mental, emotional...) or the well-being of my personal relationships.
3.  Engage in activities that I don't normally have time for or try something new.

I'm not going to be doing any special blog posts about this, but you are all invited to participate in your own ways.

A woman who knows herself well is a very DANGEROUS thing indeed.

I'm off to Yoga for Congo tonight...something I really WANT to do, something that is good for me, and something that I never do...check, check, check!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Die Like Shiz


I mentioned in my last Easter post that I don't want to die like Shiz, so I thought I'd clarify what I mean by that.


For my readers who are not familiar with The Book of Mormon, I've just got to say:

In this instance, Shiz is not a slang word used in place of mild profanity.

It's someone's name.

Shiz was a blood-thirsty, revenge-seeking, fear-mongering leader of a faction of the Jaredites, people who inhabited the Americas a long, long time ago.  At the end of the Book of Mormon, we read an abbreviated account of their arrival in the promised land, their rejection of God's prophets, the reversal of their great civilization into anarchy, their relentless wars, and the complete extinction of their people.

Cheery, story, huh?  Well, the "best"/most riveting part of this story is when the two wicked, rival leaders of the people--Coriantumr and Shiz--battle each other to the death.  Even though a prophet of God has called Coriantumr to repentance, and warned him that if he does not repent, he will live to see every last person in his country killed in war....he still does not repent, but choses instead to continue the fight.


Even after seeing TWO MILLION Jaredite people killed in various battles, Coriantumr and Shiz do not "bury the hatchet".


Instead they gather the only remaining men--an army of 32 men verses an army of 27--to battle with vengeance.  They fight all day long until they are so exhausted that they sleep on their swords, only to rise again in the morning to follow after their desire for revenge.

Finally, Shiz and Coriantumr are the only two people left alive, and they engage in a duel to the death.  Then Coriantumr does Shiz in.

And trust me when I say:  You do not want to die like Shiz:




31 And it came to pass that when they had aall fallen by the sword, save it were Coriantumr and Shiz, behold Shiz had fainted with the loss of blood.
 30And it came to pass that when Coriantumr had leaned upon his sword, that he rested a little, he smote off the head of Shiz.
 31And it came to pass that after he had smitten off the head of Shiz, that Shiz raised up on his hands and afell; and after that he had struggled for breath, he died.
After reading this I thought, "What an awful and gruesome way to die.
I don't want to die like Shiz!!"


I immediately did a dramatic reenactment of this scene for my husband.  (It was Oscar-worthy, I tell you!)  And then, once I had his attention, I shared with him what the Spirit taught me as I was reading this story, which I am now going to share with you.

Obviously, being decapitated and having your body flail around gasping for air would be a horrible way to die.  But the thing that disgusted me was the fact that after realizing that TWO MILLION people had died on account of their stubbornness and wickedness they STILL WEREN'T WILLING TO STOP FIGHTING...

Disgusted by this fact, I thought about how sad, stupid, and pathetic this was.  They'd rather let their whole civilization die a bloody death than repent, forgive, compromise, or humble themselves.

Surely...I'd never do something like that.  How foolish!

Then the Spirit told me that, in essence, we do this in our own lives when we fail to forgive others.  Sometimes, we choose to allow an entire family relationship to "die" out of our own selfish desires to be right, or to be apologized to, or for a million other reasons.

I am guilty of this, because I have been unable to forget about past hurts that I have experienced in my own family.  So while, I can sit here and judge Coriantumr and Shiz, I knew in that moment that the gruesome scene laid out in this story had a parallel in our lives.  Families lie in shambles all over our great land, because of wickedness, because of pride, because of an unwillingness to bury the hatchet.

So when I say that I don't want to die like Shiz...I mean, that I don't want to let my pride kill off my entire civilization...my family, my relationships with those who I love most.

And I hope that you won't either.

This is going to be my new "magic word" to remind me to work toward forgiveness:

"Don't Die Like Shiz!"

This story also has implications and possibly prophetic warnings for the current civilization living on the American continent today...

The Family Proclamation says, "....we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets."

Speaking of the downfall of the Jaredite people, Elder Maxwell has said, "Anarchy was the “order” of the day! That strange and sad state is in some ways like that foreseen by Orson Pratt which could befall our latter-day America and bring circumstances of great unrest and strife among factions—with people seeking refuge across the landscape of this beloved land. (See Masterful Discourses and Writings of Orson Pratt, Bookcraft, Inc., 1962, p. 156.)"  

How can we keep our world from falling into a state of anarchy like the Jaredite nation?  

STRENGTHEN OUR FAMILIES.

One day at a time.  One dinner at a time.  One bedtime story at a time.
One Family Home Evening at a time.

One act of forgiveness at a time.

We can do this.


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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Womanhood: That big awesome club



I kind of don't want to post anything, because I'd like Easter to linger for just a little while longer.  Everything that I think about saying to you, seems to pale in comparison with all of the great testimonies from our Easter Blog Party.  

You know, on Saturday nearly 4,000 people came to my site...say what???
Looking for Easter stuff to do with their families, no doubt.
I'm glad.

By now you should be aware of the fact that I live in Pennsylvania, but did you know that it is the state with the lowest number of Mormons per capita?  Blogging gives a Mormon woman like me access to every other Mormon woman...every other Christian woman...every other mother, sister, grandmother, aunt, and friend who wants just what I do...to feel connected, to be inspired, and to make the most of every day.

I think about all of you who have dropped by to see me since I began blogging.
Most of you, I don't know in real life.
But I know You, surely, I do.  

You are women just like me:  
hard-working, big-dreaming, righteously-scheming
WOMEN.

As members of Club Womanhood, we support each other, encourage and inspire one another as we aspire to fulfill the all-important, God-given roles of our lives that have been tailor-made for each one of us.  

So to the 4,000 of you who visited me on Saturday, I say, thank you, and to the 15,000 or so other individuals who have stopped by to leave a word of support and encouragement over the last year or two, I say OBRIGADA!

I'd like to be able to get to know you each better, so please leave me a comment with your blog so I can hop on over and return the favor.

Have a great day!
(I'm off to register Guy for kindergarten!!)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Leading My Children to The Cross


This has been the best Easter on record for me.

There is no doubt this is due to the fact that we focused on Jesus Christ as a family.

The Family Proclamation says that "Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ."

I have had a lot of interesting experiences this weekend, as I have tried to "keep Easter holy."  I'd like to share a few of them with you, that perhaps it will strengthen your testimony and inspire you to create a holy celebration in your own special way for your families again next Easter.


Preparing to Welcome the Lord into Our Home:  On Thursday night, after my kids and husband had gone to bed, I decided to stay up and give my house a thorough cleaning in preparation for Easter Weekend. We weren't expecting any special visitors, but my kids had been sick all week, and my house was grimy.  I ended up cleaning from 11pm to 1:30am.  It was quiet in the house, and I was enjoying having this time to ponder things.  The more that I cleaned, the more that I thought about Christ.  I started cleaning not only to make a nice place for my family and I to enjoy, but a house that would be clean and welcoming to the Lord.  Thus cleaning my house in preparation for Easter became the "palm" that I was willing to offer up unto the Lord.  I liked the thought of welcoming Christ into our home this weekend, and I think that we did just that.

Fasting from the World's Distractions:  To further create a special environment for our family this weekend, I unplugged the TV and removed it from it's hallowed location in the living room.  I wanted to tune out commercials and noise, and spend time reading about and celebrating the life of Christ instead of filling our time on Good Friday with worldly pursuits.  This became another palm that I gladly gave in pursuit to come to know Christ better this Easter weekend.

Feasting on His words:  On Good Friday, I was pretty tired from staying up late cleaning, but I had just enough energy to read some Easter books with the kids, and have a quiet day contemplating the Atonement.  I finished reading the Book of Mormon, for my Book of Mormon Challenge (I hope that some of you did as well!).  As I finished I had two thoughts:  1)  I don't want to die like Shiz and 2) Everything points back to Jesus Christ...everything in nature and the very rise and fall of civilizations is about one thing, whether or not we are willing to worship the true and living God and accept his son, Jesus Christ.  Everything else is ancillary to this central truth.  

Pondering My Personal Relationship with Christ:  I also spent some time on Friday, recording some of my most sacred experiences with the Spirit in my Small Plates journal.  That was really nice and reminded me of some things I have come to know about Jesus Christ first-hand.

Keeping Traditions in Check:  Saturday, or Secular Saturday, as we call it at our house, the Easter Bunny paid us a visit.  The kids found their baskets and hunted for eggs, and scarfed down some candy.  The entire Easter Bunny experience lasted about 15 minutes and was over and done with.  Anyway, it struck me later in the day on Saturday that about 99% of our Easter celebrations were about Christ, while 1% revolved around the bunny/candy aspect.  I was pleased to find that we didn't have to outlaw the Easter Bunny for our children to understand what is truly important about the holiday and what we value as a family.  This was a very rewarding thing to discover.


Doing Something Special With Our Time:  After breakfast, we hopped in the car and drove to a neighboring town so I could run in a 10K race.  I had decided three months ago to train for this race, but lost motivation about half-way through my training.  Regardless of this fact, my husband would not let me back out of the race.  I had tried every angle this week to wriggle my way out of my commitment.  But no go. I found it interesting on Friday, as I was reading one of the children's Easter books, that it noted that Jesus prayed not once, but twice that the Father would "let this cup pass".  It dawned on me in that moment:  That he really was human (at least in part).  He really knew what it meant to feel weakness, to dread a task, to fear the future.  This brought me so much joy.  I now knew that Jesus KNOWS and understands when we pray to have a trial or difficult experience removed from us.  He doesn't look down on us and say "you weakling, why can't you be stronger!?"  He gets it.  He gets me, because he really has been there.  That's all I needed to know to trust him more. And I do trust him.

My kids are sad in the picture above, because they didn't want me to run either!  But I ran the race, at my own pace, and it felt good.  I wanted to continue to keep the weekend holy in my own chosen way, even though I had chosen to run this race, so I listened to my Easter Mix on my ipod and a talk by President Packer, while I ran.  The race was run on the oldest Rail-to-Trail venue in the US, through some beautiful old woods that ran over a creek.  There was a lot of rain the night before, so the trail was very muddy, which also made for some good pondering as I was mostly alone with my thoughts during the race.  My husband and kids came to cheer me on.  It meant a lot to see their bright, smiling faces at the 5K mark.


Leading My Children to The Cross:  After lunch and a quick shower, we set out again to attend the annual Easter service at the Paxinos Cross.  Three years ago, I wrote a story about this cross and the people who erected.  On Good Friday 1961, a group of boy scouts dragged boards up this hill and put up a cross for all to see.  It is visible for miles around.  The troop has been taking care of it ever since.  I had been up the mountain once while writing the story, but this was our first time attending the worship service.  It was excellent. There was some extra dedications to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the cross.  


It was really cool to take in the breath-taking view, sing the songs of praise with fellow Christians, and honor the tradition and the people who had contributed to this landmark and symbol of faith.  But the best part for me was our trek up the mountain to get to the site of the cross.  We drove most of the way up, but at a certain point, we had to park our car and hike up the rest of the way.  We could have taken a shuttle, but my husband opted to walk.  We didn't realize that it was over a mile climb over fairly rugged and muddy terrain to reach the summit.  This is not an impossible task for two healthy adults, but for two healthy adults with a 5, 3, and 2-year-old in tow, lugging blankets and such, it became quite an ambitious mission.

Scarlett and I quickly fell behind, while Guy and Steve, with  Autumn in his arms, sped ahead.  Scarlett insisted that I hold her hand the whole time.  She went as fast as her little legs could walk, and I found that I had to hold her hand very firmly to keep her from falling.  Our fellow hikers paid Scarlett many encouraging compliments to keep her moving up the trail.  Two women behind me remarked on the significance of the signs that pointed our way "to the Cross", and our hike suddenly became something of a pilgrimage.

Now, in our church, we do not use the cross as a common symbol of our faith.  Growing up, I actually had an aversion to it, because I knew that this was a symbol of Christ's death, and I was taught to celebrate the fact that he overcame death and the fact that he lives and leads our church, and not to focus on "worshiping" a cross.  Semantics.  As an adult, I can now appreciate the cross more, as I can see how beloved it is to other Christians.  So the idea that I was taking my daughter, by the hand, and leading her to the cross became very touching, because this is what I try to do every day of my life as a Mother.  Bringing them to Christ is pretty much the whole point of everything that I do.

It was a beautiful walk up the mountain amongst the tall, old trees.  Watching the trail of people making their way up the path at various speeds made me think of the scene Christ's followers might have seen as they followed Him up with the cross.  It also caused me to reflect on the fact that we are all on our own personal journeys to come to the cross and to come to know our Savior.  Some move faster than others.  Some must pass through much pain to arrive at their desired destination.  Others generously help with encouraging words or by removing stumbling blocks or by bending back thorny branches.  Eventually, albeit at our own paces, we all made it up the mountain to be together at the cross.

Just as it took great perseverance to reach the ultimate peak of this mountain, it takes dedication and endurance to move our children and their young testimonies each day to a higher elevation in their journey toward the cross or toward coming to know their Savior personally.  I hope that my children will always remember that climb, because I sure will.


Testimony Egg Hunt:  And finally, today, we had our second annual Testimony Egg Hunt!  We solicited family members for a brief testimony a week in advance.  We placed the testimonies inside plastic eggs and hid them for the children to find after church.  Then we read each testimony as the kids munched on the few bits of jelly beans that were included in the eggs.  


So, in addition to all of the crafting/object lessons that we did all month, that was our Easter.  It's probably the biggest Easter we will ever have, because our family is at a time in our lives when we are fairly autonomous.  None of my children are in school (besides preschool), none of us are involved in sports.  We have a lot of time to be together and have a lot of say over how we spend that time.  I hope that in the future, we will continue to dedicate a lot of time to making these kinds of special memories together.

I have recorded these memories in my journal, because I wanted to remember what it was about this Easter that made it so special so I can refer back to this in years ahead.

I am sure that each of you have special memories from this Easter, and I hope that you will record it somewhere to reference in future years.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Live Like His Son by As Sistas in Zion

There is a beautiful song in the LDS Children’s Hymn Book called He Sent His Son.

“How could the Father tell the world
of love and tenderness?
He sent His son, a newborn babe,
with peace and holiness.

How could the Father show the world
the pathway we should go?
He sent His Son, to walk with men
on earth that we may know.

How could the Father tell the world
of sacrifice, of death?
He sent his Son to die for us
and rise with living breath.

What does the Father ask of us?
What do the scriptures say?
Have faith, have hope, live like his Son,
help others on their way.

What does He ask? Live like his Son.”

What we love about this song is that it shows how much the Father sacrificed for us and how little he asks for in return. There are so many beautiful things that come along with celebrating the Easter holiday. Easter takes place in the Spring, when the earth is awakening from winter, blossoming and blooming with new life. Many of us get new dresses or suits, children’s laughter rings as they fill their baskets with beautiful pastel colored eggs. We all have many wonderful traditions that we partake in during Easter, but we mustn’t forget that Easter is the celebration of the resurrection of our Savior. We cannot forget the sacrifice that was made for each of us and all the Father asks in return is that we live as Jesus Christ would. This Easter, as we sistas don our hats and break our necks in the kitchen preparing beautiful Easter dinners, let's not forget to focus on the actions required to follow the Saviors example. The Lord loved us all so much that he gave his only begotten Son."Have faith, have hope, live like his Son, help others on their way.What does He ask? Live like his Son.”


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Sister Laurel & Sister Beehive share their whit, humor, and testimonies 
at As Sistas in Zion.
Check them out!
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Friday, April 22, 2011

Stone Could Not Hold Him

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What an amazing five weeks it has been for us celebrating Easter with books, crafts, treats, activities, and testimony.  I think that we have successfully proven that it is possible to keep Easter holy while truly CELEBRATING what the Lord, Jesus Christ has done for us.  It has been a joy to"talk of Christ" with my children, and with each of you through our Easter Blog Party.  Thank you for all of your comments and guest posts!

For one of our last Easter activities, I took the children to a local park to get a sense of how heavy the stone might have been that was placed in front of Jesus' tomb.  If I were to put myself in the shoes of his apostles, friends, and loved ones on that first Good Friday, my heart would probably be as heavy as that stone.  

That stone--an insurance policy for His persecutors--must've felt so final to those who mourned his death.  Did the stone make a cold, ominous sound when it was rolled into place?  Did that sound haunt the dreams of those who missed their beloved leader and friend?  Was that scraping, crushing noise followed by the ultimate hush of God, man, and nature, and by muffled tears?  Surely there was no coming back from this.  

But He did.  He did come back.  Jesus Christ overcame death.  As the poem Empty Linen by Emily Harris reads "the door stands opened, the stone is rolled away...linen cannot hold him. Stone cannot hold him....hallelujah, it is empty."

He moved mountains.  He created the very earth on which we stand.  Of course, stone could not hold him.


It is comforting to know that the Savior of the World can and will help us remove the "stones" that stand to obstruct our path in life if we trust in him, apply his Atonement, and seek His face.  He has already removed the biggest stone that stood between us and returning to the presence of our Father in Heaven.  


Through this Easter season with my kids, I have come to love Jesus Christ in a much deeper way.  I have read the Book of Mormon in its entirety this Easter, and I testify that it truly teaches of and brings souls to Jesus Christ.


+++

Now to announce the winner of this week's giveaway:
a print from Plum Street Prints.

Random.org has chosen comment #19
Dan and Julie Fisher

Congrats guys, please email me to claim your prize:
jocelyn dot christensen at gmail dot com


Please, have a most wonderful Easter weekend...

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Palms for the Lord: My Talk on Worshiping God

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This is the talk that I gave in church this week (on Palm Sunday).  I spent a lot of time in prayer and fasting to prepare for this talk.  After listening to Elder Holland describe the process that speakers in General Conference go through to prepare for their talks, I figured a Sacrament talk was worth the same effort.  It was really a wonderful experience.  I learned some wonderful truths and had my testimony strengthened.


I hope that you enjoy it and receive it with the Spirit in which it was originally delivered.  I was the final speaker.  There were two men who spoke before me.  One was a youth speaker.  Here are my talk notes.  I tried to add things that I threw in during the delivery:



Assigned Topic: The 1st commandment:  Thou shalt have no other God’s before me.  I have chosen to speak specifically about WORSHIPING GOD.

As the spirit children of the Eternal Father, we have been placed on earth to be tried and tested, to see if we will keep his commandments and do those things which will qualify us to return to his presence and be like him.

Bruce R. McConkie has said, “[The Lord] has planted in our hearts an instinctive desire to worship, to seek salvation, to love and serve a power or being greater than ourselves. Worship is implicit in existence itself."

            (If you have ever witnessed a younger sibling following around his or her older siblings around the yard, you know that this instinctive desire to worship a “higher power” is indeed instinctual!)

I repeat:  "The issue is not whether men shall worship, but who or what is to be the object of their devotions and how they shall go about paying their devotions to their chosen Most High.”  Bruce R. McConkie

The 1st commandment states “Thou shalt have no other Gods before me.”  This commandment echoes a great debate over “who has the right to rule”.  This was the subject of that great battle we call “The War in Heaven” which had its beginnings before the earth was created and which continues today.

The Family Proclamation states that in the pre-mortal existence, we knew and worshipped God as our Eternal Father.  Sadly, 1/3 of our spirit brothers and sisters did not choose to follow God.  They chose to follow Satan and were cast out.

Satan and his band of sore losers are determined to continue their fight by trying to sway our allegiance away from God.

During Christ’s mortal life, Satan brazenly attempted to persuade even the Savior of the world to bow down and worship him.  Satan promised on “easy terms” that which was not his to give.

Christ’s response was “Get thee hence, it is written ‘thou shalt worship the Lord thy God and him only shalt thou serve.”  Later to his apostles Christ said, “Thou shalt love the Lord they God with all they heart.”

Satan is not picky.  He will take whatever he can get.  He would be happy to have us merely split our allegiance between God and…something else.  Anything else.

This was a weakness for the ancient Israelites, who the Bible Dictionary indicates, fell into idolatry by worshipping gods of the surrounding heathen nations IN ADDITION to worshipping Jehovah.

In our day, Satan has increased his efforts.  There is MUCH to worship in both the physical and virtual world.  Although we live in a world of great material wealth, the images that we can worship are no longer just limited to “graven images”, they are also digitized, fantasize, even imagined.

President Kimball once said:  “If a man worships a cow or a crocodile, he can gain any reward that cows and crocodiles happen to be passing out this season. ...But if he worships the true and living God, in spirit and in truth, then God Almighty will pour out his Spirit upon him, and he will have power to raise the dead, move mountains, entertain angels, and walk in celestial streets.”

Whatever cause or desire is edging out God for first place in our lives, needs to go.  However, there are many good activities to enjoy in this life.  How can we tell if we are idolizing something? (Dennis Largey “Refusing to worship today’s graven images”:  “If by idolizing an activity we become less than “valiant in the testimony of Jesus” (D&C 76:79), we have violated the (first and) second commandment.”

The scriptures tell us that “no man can serve two masters”.  Oft-times our most unrelenting master is ourselves.  President Faust once said, “Today many of us are trying to serve two masters—the Lord and our own selfish interests.”

In a 1955 devotional, Marion G. Romney said, “Now there are those among us who are trying to serve the Lord without offending the Devil.”

“Choose you this day whom ye shall serve.”

So how do we move from “Thou shalt have no other Gods before Me” to a life where we “Love the Lord God with all of thy heart” as Jesus Christ has instructed?

Let us reflect on the example set by followers of Christ during his triumphal entry into Jerusalem on the original “Palm Sunday” and consider how it translates into what we must do in order to Love the Lord with all our heart.

Source:  Palms for the Lord” by Dorothy D. Warner (Friend Magazine, Mar 1996).

"Much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord (John 12:12–13).



The Sunday before Easter, often called Palm Sunday, reminds us of Christ’s entering Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. We picture Him riding a donkey, with crowds scattering palm branches along His path.

Many people think that palm branches were used because there were so many palm trees in that part of the world, but there were more reasons than that for choosing them. The palm branch was the emblem of Judea and appeared on the coins of that land, thus symbolizing one of the riches of that country. When Jesus entered Jerusalem, it was when the trees were in bloom, so in covering the way with palm branches, the people were offering a symbol of luxury.
It was a symbol of necessity too. To the Jews, palm branches represented a gift from God because of its many uses in their lives. The palm was so important in that area that when countries there went to war, the first thing they did was cut away the palm branches, causing their enemy to suffer the loss of food and livelihood (jobs).
This important tree has many different species (kinds of trees), ranging in size from less than ten feet (3 m) to over one hundred feet (30 m) high. The date palm supplied dates, of course. The coconut palm supplied both coconut and coconut milk. The sap of the sugar palm was dried, beaten, and ground into very fine sugar. Its leaves could also be boiled and used as a vegetable. The trunk of the sago palm supplied a strong starch that was ground into flour and made into unleavened bread.
Palm trees had almost no waste parts. Their coarse fiber was used to make brooms, mats, and baskets; their fine fiber was used to make sewing thread, and their heaviest fiber was used to make strong ropes for ships. Palm oils have been made into both butter and soap.
Coconut shells, too, were used. Fine bowls, cooking utensils, even tools were made from them. The timber of some palms was resistant to rot and salt water and was especially good for making boats.
The seeds of palms were boiled into a medicinal drink or were dried and eaten as nuts. If they were allowed to dry a long time, they became as hard as rock and transparent, and made durable beads and trinkets.
The palm’s yellowish-white flowers had an odor similar to that of violets, and they were made into perfume. The lovely, waxy flowers also were worn by the women as decorative headdresses.
On Palm Sunday, the followers of Christ, laid down symbols of wordly goods, both necessities and luxuries, that they were willing to lay at Christ’s feet to welcome him into their city, to praise, and to worship their Lord and Master.
In our day, there is a parallel.  We each have palms to lay at the feet of the Master, in order to praise and worship him, and to bid him enter our hearts.  In offering up these palms, we will truly come to “love the Lord God” with all of our heart.
First I will tell you of some palms that we can lay at Christ’s feet which will help us to stay true to our testimonies until the end of our days, then I will tell you of palms that each of us can give to worship God every day of our lives:
1.   Trusting in God and not in the arm of flesh
2.   Confront your weaknesses.
3.  Live your temple and baptismal covenants, and partake of the Sacrament worthily.
4.  Align yourself with the words of God’s prophet on the earth today.
 5.  Feast on the words of Christ.

6.  Acknowledge where all of your blessings come from.
7. Pray daily, even hourly for strength to overcome temptations.
When we are doing these things, when we are laying down these all-important palm leaves at the feet of the Savior, we can joyfully worship him daily in many, many other ways.
Consider again, the many practical uses for the palms which the people laid at the feet of Jesus.  When I say we should lay these things at the feet of the Savior, it doesn’t necessary mean laying things that we need to give up.  We worship God in the many small acts we perform daily for others.  By "laying these acts at the Savior's feet", we are dedicating them to the Lord.
We worship God with our talents.  Some people worship God through artwork, music, or dance.
Just as the palms represented the making of food, we worship God with every meal that we lay before our families, with every word of comfort that we bring to a sick friend.
Thread was made from palms, which makes me think that sewing a hole in my son’s jeans can also be an act that I lay before the Master.  Dressing modestly can also be part of my daily way to worship him.
As I think about palms...I consider my palms...the palms of my hands.  (At this point, I held up and pointed to my palm.)  The scriptures tell us that "When you are in the service of your fellow beings you are only in the service of your God."  I can offer up my palms and the work of my hands in service to others as an offering to the Lord as well.
When I think of my palms, I think about the Savior's palms and the fact that he has "written our names" on his palms in the marks of his hands.


The palms that the followers of Christ laid on palm Sunday represented luxury and necessity, work and play...and what is life made up of, but work and play.  So whether they were aware of it or not, the laying down of palm branches was laying down a symbol of their willingness to give their whole lives to know him.  I wonder how many of them realized that later that same week, the Savior would do just that...lay down his life for them.
It's possible that people misunderstand the role of Grace in our religion, because we talk so much of works, but this is our way of worshiping God.  We do these things, not as a way of "buying our ticket into heaven", but instead it is our way of showing our love for the Lord.  We worship him by loving and serving our fellow men.
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.  

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(The rest of this was part of my talk, but I did not include it for the sake of time.  But it's a good read.)
President Kimball:  “In other words, true and perfect worship consists in following in the steps of the Son of God; it consists in keeping the commandments and obeying the will of the Father to that degree that we advance from grace to grace until we are glorified in Christ as he is in his Father. It is far more than prayer and sermon and song. It is living and doing and obeying. It is emulating the life of the great Exemplar.”
To worship the Lord is to follow after him, to seek his face, to believe his doctrine, and to think his thoughts.
It is to walk in his paths, to be baptized as Christ was, to preach that gospel of the kingdom which fell from his lips, and to heal the sick and raise the dead as he did.
To worship the Lord is to put first in our lives the things of his kingdom, to live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God, to center our whole hearts upon Christ and that salvation which comes because of him.
It is to walk in the light as he is in the light, to do the things that he wants done, to do what he would do under similar circumstances, to be as he is.
To worship the Lord is to walk in the Spirit, to rise above carnal things, to bridle our passions, and to overcome the world.
It is to pay our tithes and offerings, to act as wise stewards in caring for those things which have been entrusted to our care, and to use our talents and means for the spreading of truth and the building up of his kingdom.
To worship the Lord is to be married in the temple, to have children, to teach them the gospel, and to bring them up in light and truth.
It is to perfect the family unit, to honor our father and our mother; it is for a man to love his wife with all his heart and to cleave unto her and none else.
To worship the Lord is to visit the fatherless and the widows in their affliction and to keep ourselves unspotted from the world.
It is to work on a welfare project, to administer to the sick, to go on a mission, to go home teaching, and to hold family home evening.
To worship the Lord is to study the gospel, to treasure up light and truth, to ponder in our hearts the things of his kingdom, and to make them part of our lives.
It is to pray with all the energy of our souls, to preach by the power of the Spirit, to sing songs of praise and thanksgiving.
To worship is to work, to be actively engaged in a good cause, to be about our Father’s business, to love and serve our fellowmen.
It is to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to comfort those that mourn, and to hold up the hands that hang down and to strengthen the feeble knees.
To worship the Lord is to stand valiantly in the cause of truth and righteousness, to let our influence for good be felt in civic, cultural, educational, and governmental fields, and to support those laws and principles which further the Lord’s interests on earth.
To worship the Lord is to be of good cheer, to be courageous, to be valiant, to have the courage of our God-given convictions, and to keep the faith.
It is ten thousand times ten thousand things. It is keeping the commandments of God. It is living the whole law of the whole gospel.
As I mentioned when I began my talk, it is not a question of if we will worship but who we will worship and how and for how long.
Hopefully, we follow our Father in Heaven, by laying these palms, these holy acts, every day, at the feet of our Savior, as we become each day more like our Father in Heaven and learn his ways.