Sunday, January 29, 2023

Letting the Light of the Son Shine through Us

By Kaylene P. Harding
Primary General Advisory Council

On an early Monday morning, a group of willing volunteers
gathered to help clean the Mount Timpanogos Utah Temple.
Assignments were given, and as several volunteers and I
followed our assigned supervisor, we quickly realized she was
leading us to the celestial room.
When we entered the room, we immediately noticed that
the huge, tiered chandelier which normally hung high above
our heads had been lowered near the floor. Our responsibility
was to clean it. This was no small task, since the chandelier
consisted of thousands of individual crystals! Each person
was given white gloves, and we were shown how to remove the
dust by carefully rubbing every crystal one by one between our
gloved fingers. The delicate process was very labor intensive,
but we enthusiastically went to work. Several hours later, the
newly cleaned chandelier sparkled radiantly! After admiring
its beauty, we began cleaning the smaller chandeliers in the
celestial room.
Suddenly something astonishing happened! The morning
sun rose over the eastern mountaintop, and its bright rays shone
directly through the large round window in the celestial room
at the perfect angle to illuminate the magnificent chandelier.
Each shiny crystal caught the sunlight, and innumerable prisms
of light spontaneously scattered everywhere! Brilliant rainbows
streamed across the floor, ceiling, furniture, walls, and the
people, and some beams even danced through the air! We were
catching rainbows in our hands! It was spectacular! I have
often pondered on that unforgettable moment and have come to
understand more clearly that the light makes all the difference!
Like the crystals, when we receive the light of the Son and reflect
it outward, His light is magnified, and the joyful effects are
During His mortal ministry and again following His
Resurrection, the Savior declared that He is the Light of the
World (see John 8:12; 3 Nephi 15:9; 3 Nephi 18:24). He invited
His disciples to “let your light so shine before men, that they
may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in
heaven” (Matthew 5:16; see also 3 Nephi 12:16). As disciples of
Jesus Christ, we each might ask ourselves, “How can I more
intentionally let the light of the Son shine through me?”
We might consider beginning to answer this question by
becoming more gratefully aware of the abundant ways Jesus Christ has shared His light with us.

Look around! His light is
everywhere! We see it in the beauty of a sparkling raindrop and
the miracle of a golden sunrise. We feel it in times of hardship
when we recognize His merciful hand that enables us to bear
our burdens and rise above the darkness of pain or fear. We
embrace it as we realize that every breath we take and every day
on earth is an opportunity to become more like Him: “The light
and the life of the world, a light which shineth in darkness and
the darkness comprehendeth it not; “Who so loved the world
that he gave his own life, that as many as would believe might
become the sons of God” (Doctrine and Covenants 34:2–3).
When we “live in thanksgiving daily” (Alma 34:38) for the light
we have received, our desire to share His light with others will
As our desire to receive and share light grows, we can ask
Heavenly Father to help us act in small and meaningful ways
to let the light of His Son shine through us. Perhaps the Spirit
may prompt us to offer a genuine smile to brighten someone’s
day, pray for a stranger in need, be kind in our thoughts about a
neighbor, or listen intently to a child. As we heed the promptings
sent especially for us, more personal revelation will come. We
might be inspired to choose to be cheerful; send a message to
uplift a friend; tell a family member, “I love you”; truly forgive;
or ask forgiveness for an unthoughtful act. In whatever unique
ways we are led to reflect the light of the Son, our acts of
kindness and love will bring great joy to us and others—and
with the Lord’s help, the combined effects will be astonishing!
I’ve come to understand more clearly that the light makes
all the difference. I’ve realized more fully this profound truth:
“That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and
continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth
brighter and brighter until the perfect day” (Doctrine and
Covenants 50:24). With humble gratitude, I gratefully offer
thanks unto the Father for His Beloved Son and for allowing us
to help Him light the world!

Simplify Life; Less is More

Simplifying your life will bring balance, freedom, and
joy. When we begin to live simply and experience these
benefits, we ask the next question, “Where else in my life
can I remove distractions and simplify life to focus on the
essentials?” Once we can answer that, we will understand
what is vital in our lives. Too many material possessions
complicate our lives more than we ever give them credit.
They drain our bank account, our energy, and our
attention. They keep us from the ones we love and from
living a life based on our values. When possible, release
yourself from the time commitments that are not in line
with your most significant values.
Reduce the number of goals you strive for in your life
to one or two. By reducing the number of goals you are
trying to accomplish, you will improve your focus and
success rate. Make a list of the things you want to achieve
and choose the three most important. Focus there.
Most negative emotions are completely useless.
Resentment, bitterness, hate, and jealousy have never
improved the quality of life for a single human being.
Take responsibility for your mind. Forgive past hurts and
replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Use fewer
words. Keep your speech plain and honest. Mean what you
say. Avoid gossip.
Focusing your attention on television, movies, video
games, and technology addiction affects your life more
than you think. Unfortunately, when you live in that world
consistently, you don’t even notice how it impacts you.
The only way to fully appreciate its influence is to turn
them off. Relationships with others are good, but constant
streams of distraction are bad. Learn when to power off
the phone, log off social media, or not read a text. Focus on
the important, not the urgent.
A steady flow of distractions from other people may
make us feel important, needed, or wanted, but feeling
important and accomplishing importance are completely
different things.

Essential Steps to Improving
Your Family Health and
Wellbeing This Year

As the start of a new year approaches, taking stock of our lives and prioritizing our health and well-being is essential. The importance of good physical and mental health cannot be overstated, as it affects every aspect of life, from work to family relationships and overall happiness. For those looking to improve their family’s health and well-being in the upcoming year, some essential steps can help guide you on your journey. From regular checkups to establishing healthy habits for all family members, these ten necessary steps can set you on the path toward better family health this coming year. It is vital to ensure each family member gets regular checkups to maintain optimal health. This includes medical checkups for adults and children and other necessary screenings such as mammograms, prostate exams, cholesterol tests, and more. Regular checkups allow doctors to catch potential problems before they become serious. Additionally, the doctor’s office is a great place to get answers to any health questions you may have. It is also ideal to discuss lifestyle changes that can improve your overall health, such as quitting smoking or reducing stress. Meal planning and healthy eating are essential to maintaining good health. A balanced diet will help provide the energy and nutrients needed for growth, development, and overall well-being. Parents should involve their children in meal planning and grocery shopping to further educate them on how to make healthy food choices.
For example, every meal should include fruits and vegetables, choosing whole grains over processed, white flour products, and limiting unhealthy fats, sugars, and salts when possible is essential.
Physical activity is integral to a healthy lifestyle for all family members. Exercise does more than keep us physically fit; it can also improve our mental state by releasing endorphins which cause us to feel happier. Parents must set an example for their children by making physical activity a part of the family’s daily routine. It can include taking a walk together after dinner, playing sports, or doing outdoor activities on weekends.
It is essential to have fun and let go of stress. Playing board games together as a family is a great way to spend quality time while developing children’s problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. You may also want to plan weekend activities such as going to the park, exploring nature trails, and attending festivals or sporting events — whatever appeals most to everyone in the family. It will help everyone unwind from a busy week, promote bonding, and strengthen family ties. Getting enough restful sleep is essential for both physical and mental health. Establishing a consistent bedtime routine can help your body relax, reducing stress and allowing you to get a good night’s sleep every night. Wind down, including avoiding screens at least an hour before bed, allocating time for relaxation activities such as reading or meditating, and ensuring that the sleeping environment is comfortable with the appropriate temperature, lighting, and noise levels. Managing stress levels effectively is critical to staying healthy in the long run. Parents should keep an open dialogue with their children about any problems they may face, such as bullying or academic stress. Parents should also lead by example and practice healthy coping methods. It can include mindfulness activities such as yoga or guided meditation, talking to a friend or therapist, and setting realistic goals that are manageable given the family’s current lifestyle. Regular dental checkups are critical for maintaining good oral health in all family members. It is also essential to teach children proper oral hygiene habits early on and encourage them to brush their teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste to keep their teeth and gums in top shape. Smoking can have serious long-term health consequences like lung cancer, heart disease, and stroke. Therefore it is essential for those who smoke to quit and for parents to not only ensure they are not smoking themselves but also keep any smoking out of the home environment so that children don’t develop a habit. Quitting smoking involves both physical and psychological components; therefore, seeking professional help from a physician or counselor may be beneficial to address these issues adequately. It is essential to teach children healthy habits such as washing hands often, carrying hand sanitizer, getting enough rest, drinking plenty of water throughout the day, and eating nutritious foods. It’s also essential for parents to model these behaviors themselves so that children can understand it is vital to take care of their bodies. Additionally, parents should encourage their children to pursue physical activities they enjoy and keep track of their progress.

How To Motivate Yourself to Workout

Trying to motivate yourself to exercise can be challenging. How can you find time to fit a workout rou-tine into your day on top of your already busy schedule? Follow these tips to find ways to get physical activity and experience the mental and physical health benefits it provides. Setting goals can help you visualize success and remind you why you’re exercising. Targets give you something to work toward and keep you motivated. Writing them down can help you see the benefits and give you the satisfaction of physically crossing them off as you reach them. Consider framing your goals in ways that seem inconsistent with what you want to achieve. For example, you can set a goal to work out five days a week — that’s goal-consistent. Or, you can set a goal to only miss your workouts twice throughout the week. Inconsistent goal framing can reinforce ambitious goals and avoid feelings of guilt and regret from your consistent goal framing.

Creating a routine is an excellent way to motivate yourself. Patterns can help you develop the self-discipline to hold yourself accountable for your goals, so create rituals around your workouts to help you stay on track and get into the habit of working out. Begin with setting out your exercise clothes the night before your workout. That way, when you wake up in the morning, you can just grab them and go. Or, you can sleep in your workout clothes to eliminate having to get dressed before you go straight into your workout. Wearing the proper clothing when you work out is essential because it can prevent injury, protect you from natural elements and ensure your body cools properly during your workout.

Moderate exercise like walking daily has myriad health benefits but can get boring. You can overwork your muscles and reduce energy levels by doing the same daily workout. Try mixing things up by changing your routine to keep things interesting. Once a month, consider trying something new and different for your activities, from changing your playlist to joining an exercise class. If you love your workout routine, try incorporating a workout with a similar style that works different muscles in your body. Mix in strength training with your cardio or opt for an alternate running route with more hills and challenges. Join a social media fitness challenge to push yourself and hold yourself accountable. Fit-ness trackers are also an excellent way to track your progress and set new goals.

Consider finding a friend to exercise with to encourage you to show up and keep pushing toward your goals. Showing up for a friend is often much easier than showing up for yourself — laying on the couch or working a few extra hours is more tempting when you don’t have someone waiting for you. Workout buddies can boost your mood, help you stay consistent and make working out more fun. You can join a sports team or group activity to enjoy the social aspect of working out together and enjoy the benefits of being part of a team. Being a part of a team has many mental and physical health bene-fits, like boosting your self-esteem and reinforcing healthy habits. Walking every morning can allow you to catch up with friends and pass the time while you get your cardio in.

Prioritizing fitness doesn’t have to be a challenge, so set yourself up for success by incorporating it into your daily routine and holding yourself accountable. Ensure you listen to your body, rest when you need to, reward yourself for goals you meet and continue pushing forward. You got this!

Prepare Your Spiritual Soil

By Brother Milton Camargo
First Counselor in the Sunday School General Presidency

One of my favorite parables in the New Testament is the parable of the sower, as found in Matthew 13:3–23 (see also Mark 4:3–20; Luke 8:5–15). In this parable, the ways people receive the word (the seed) are compared to different types of soil. We learn that each soil has an important characteristic, either good or bad. We often read this parable and think that it describes people’s willingness to ac-cept and live the gospel. While this is true, I think the parable can also describe our individual progress as we grow in faith and gospel knowledge. In other words, we are not perpetually locked into a certain type or level of belief. We can, with faith and effort, improve our spiritual soil so that it will produce better fruit.

In the parable, we learn that as the sower sowed: Some seeds fell by the wayside, and birds ate them. Some fell on stony places. They sprouted but were scorched by the sun. Some fell among thorns, and the thorns choked them out. Some fell into good ground and brought forth fruit. The Lord explains: “When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. “But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;“Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. “He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. “But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty” (Matthew 13:19–23; emphasis added). Let’s look at each type of soil and see what can be done to improve it.

Wayside Soil

President Dallin H. Oaks, First Counselor in the First Presidency, said: “The seeds that ‘fell by the way side’ (Mark 4:4) have not reached mortal soil where they might possibly grow. They are like teachings that fall upon a heart hardened or unprepared.” In addition, sometimes we don’t understand what we hear or read in the scriptures because our hearts are unprepared. When that is the case, what should we do? We can seek an explanation from those who do understand. We might ask the missionaries, our Sunday School teacher, our priesthood or organization leader, our seminary or institute teacher, those who minister to us, or our faithful parents and family members. We can study general confer-ence talks. The Gospel Library app provides a multitude of resources that can help us seek more un-derstanding. We should also pray and ask God for more light. If our heart is sincere, our intention is real, and we have faith in Christ, we will receive knowledge of the truths of the gospel (see Moroni 10:4–5). The Lord said: “Ask, and it shall be given unto you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. “For every one that asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth; and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened” (3 Nephi 14:7–8).

Soil in Stony Places

Some people hear the restored gospel through the missionaries, feel the love of Christ, and attend and enjoy Church meetings. However, over time, life’s difficulties continue. They find that life has not been transformed into a stream of never-ending blessings. Their faith diminishes and they drift away. To have the strength to remove stones, we need the help of the Savior. That comes when we accept the covenants He offers. This begins by accepting the invitation to be baptized. It means being con-firmed and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. It means accepting any covenants we still lack, such as receiving the priesthood or going to the temple. It means attending church and renewing covenants by taking the sacrament each week. When trials and temptations come, we can hold fast to the cove-nants we have made with the Lord. “We are bound securely to and with the Savior as we faithfully re-member and do our best to live in accordance with the obligations we have accepted,” said Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “And that bond with Him is the source of spiritual strength in every season of our lives.”

Soil among the Thorns

This soil allows plants to grow, including thorns. The thorns are the “cares and riches and pleasures of this life” that can cause us to “bring no fruit to perfection” (Luke 8:14). What happens when we accept covenants but no longer walk the covenant path? Or we partake of the sacrament but don’t ask for forgiveness, because we don’t even think about our mistakes anymore. Or we may ask for forgiveness but refuse to forgive others. We accept the covenants of the temple but fail to minister to those in need. We set aside opportunities to share the gospel because we fear it might seem inappropriate or embarrassing, or because we no longer know what to say. The solution is to live the covenant we made when we were baptized, “to mourn with those that mourn; … [to] comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that [we] may be in, even until death” (Mosiah 18:9).

The Good Ground

There are many who hear the word, understand it, and let it grow in their hearts. To them the Lord says, “I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain” (John 15:16). For such people, the answer is to move forward with faith and endure in good works. President Oaks asked, “What do we do with the Savior’s teachings as we live our lives?”3 This year, as we prepare to study the New Testament, may we draw near to the Savior and improve our spiritual soil so that we can receive the word. Then we can bring forth the fruits He asks us to bring by accepting and renewing the covenants that bind us to Him, by serving God and loving our neigh-bors, and by progressing along the covenant path that will someday bring us back to our heavenly home.

Why Work

One of the sad truths about the world today is that most people look upon work as something to es-cape from. To them, this significant part of life is a necessary evil, even an obstacle to the life they dream about. From plenty of personal conversations, some people choose simplicity to escape work. That’s not what simple life is for. Undoubtedly, some discontent about work comes from faulty think-ing about its reason. The point of the desire to get out of work needs to be included. Dorothy Sayers, in her famous essay Why Work? It begs us to see work anew. She seeks nothing less than “a thor-oughgoing revolution in our whole attitude to work.” Sayers believes in looking upon work “not as a necessary drudgery to be undergone to make money, but as a way of life in which the nature of man should find its proper exercise and delight and so fulfill itself.” Work, in this regard, is not something to be avoided. It is something to be pursued and enjoyed. Work contributes to the good of society and moves us ahead. In our day, the need for talent and abilities is high. Please work hard and do it well. It improves us, enriches our lives, and creates a great society.

Teachers are Frontliners

Teachers are front liners in the delivery of education for the youth. More than ever, the Department of Education ensures that their rights under the Magna Carta and other pertinent laws.

As front liners, too, in terms of information and dissemination regarding the coronavirus pandemic, they help encourage the students to adopt the concept of physical distancing and prioritize good health habits such as handwashing and keeping the immune system high.
Teachers help in communicating measures that prevent the spread of the virus and in alleviating fears and anxieties around the disease. The government should categorize teachers as front liners and be given priority to receive the first batch of the covid 19 vaccines. Such measures would ensure our school children will have a safe environment and ensure the stability of our education ecosystem. By getting vaccinated, teachers will have the confidence to go back to school instead of worrying about infecting their students.

Motivating Students To Love Math

One of the most difficult aspects of becoming a teacher is learning how to motivate your students. It is one of the most important. Students who are not motivated will not learn effectively. They won’t retain information, won’t participate, and may even become disrupted students. Students may be unmotivated; they feel that they have no interest in the subject. It may eventually come to light that students who appeared unmotivated actually have difficulty learning and need special attention while motivating them can be difficult.

Motivated students are more excited to learn and participate; as teachers, we need to do different and participate; as teachers, we need to do different strategies. Motivating students to be enthusiastically receptive is one of the most aspects of mathematics instruction and critical aspect in any curriculum. Effective teachers focus attention on the less interested students as well as the motivated ones. When the students are challenged intellectually, react with enthusiasm. The problem must definitely lead to a lesson and within reach of students’ ability. Teach your students to have a growth mindset. The first step to helping your students love math is to help them realize that they can get better.

Guided Inquiry Learning

For many students, traditional classroom learning makes them bored and unengaged. As a result, they aren’t entirely learning the subjects being taught. We all have a general goal: to help students learn to their advantage in the future, ensuring they are engaged with any material they are learning during classes. Sometimes, it’s easier said than done. Nowadays, we have a lot of learning styles; these styles help students learn according to what’s best for them.

Guided inquiry is a type of inquiry-based learning where a teacher provides scaffolding to guide the students through their inquiries. In this type of learning allows students to be in control of their learning. The teacher can let the students create investigations, ask questions, do the research study, distill information in order to hone their critical thinking skills. This type of learning is not really new or different from other student-led learning; instead, it is a way for learners to learn from multiple sources of information, using that information in figuring out on their own and finding a solution to problems.
It also has a lot of benefits for students. The foremost benefits are that they will feel motivated to learn and gain higher-level thinking skills like reasoning or evaluating. Moreover, this learning type enables students to retain more information. When they are hands-on with exploration, they’re excited about what to do and what the results will be; having a lot of questions means they are curious, which is a first step towards gaining knowledge and formulate new ideas. Guided-inquiry takes practice; you’ll know it’s worth it when you see your students change from passive students into active learners. To teachers, there are many learning types to try, this is only one of them and it’s worth to try.

Good Vs Bad Carbs: Is There A Difference?

When one talks about diet, another automatically thinks of losing weight. Well, let us be clear that the diet means the food and drink a person consumes daily and the mental and physical circumstances connected to eating. Nutrition involves more than simply eating a “good” diet—it is about nourishment on every level. It involves relationships with family, friends, nature (the environment), our bodies, our community, and the world. 

So, let us all talk about carbohydrates. Carbs isn’t bad after all, only if we know how to choose the best with the most nutrient that we need. Carbohydrates, often referred to as just “carbs,” are your body’s primary energy source, and are a crucial part of any well-balanced diet. The three main types of carbohydrates are sugars, starches, and fiber. They’re called “simple” or “complex” based on their chemical makeup and what your body does with them. But since many foods contain one or more types of carbohydrates, it can still be tricky to understand what’s healthy for you and what’s not.

Simple carbohydrates are composed of easy-to-digest, basic sugars, which can be an important source of energy. Some of these sugars are naturally occurring, such as those in fruits and in milk, while refined or processed sugars are often added to candies, baked goods, and soda. On nutrition labels, added sugars can go by several different names, including brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, fructose, glucose, maltose, malt syrup, trehalose, sucrose, and honey, among others. The FDA has mandated that by July 2018 all nutrition labels must clearly identify the amount of added sugars per serving in the product, directly beneath the total sugar count.

Complex carbohydrates, found in whole grains, legumes, and starchy vegetables, contain longer chains of sugar molecules, which usually take more time for the body to break down and use. This in turn provides you with a more consistent amount of energy, says Sandra Meyerowitz, MPH, RD, nutritionist and owner of Nutrition Works in Louisville, Kentucky. Complex carbohydrates are considered “good” because of the longer series of sugars that they are made of, which the body takes longer to break down. That means you will get lower amounts of sugars released at a more consistent rate — instead of peaks and valleys — to keep you going throughout the day. Foods with complex carbohydrates also typically have more vitamins, fiber, and minerals than foods containing more simple carbohydrates, as long as you’re choosing whole grains over processed ones. For example, whole grains, such as whole-wheat flour, quinoa, brown rice, barley, corn, and oats, among others, provide more nutrients than processed grains, such as white rice and breads, pasta, and baked goods made with white flour.

When trying to figure out if a source of carbohydrates is good or bad, remember this: The higher in sugar it is, and the lower in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, the worse the food is for you.

By: Darla Gail Quinco, RND