Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Prepare Yourself to Be Amazed

the wockenflock was asked to speak on The Law of Tithing on November 28.  I wanted to speak from a positive stand point, look at the blessings.  Sunset

Prepare  yourself to be amazed.

Prepare yourself to prove God herewith.

Prepare yourself to have the windows of heaven opened up to you.

Prepare yourself for such a blessing that there is not room enough to hold it.

Would you intentionally reject this?  But this is what we do if we don’t pay our tithing, according to Elder Richard D. Hales, of the Quorum of the Twelve (Tithing: a Test of Faith with Eternal Blessings, Ensign, Nov. 2002), “We say no to to the very blessings we are seeking and praying to receive…Prove Him now herewith…Pay your tithing.  Unlock the windows of heaven” 

The Lord promises an abundance of blessings both temporal and spiritual. “The temporal and spiritual blessings of tithing are specifically tailored to us and our families, according to the Lord’s will.  But to receive them, we must obey the law upon which they are predicated.  ‘ Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there  may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. (Malachai 3:10……)”” (Tithing: A Test of Faith with Eternal Blessings)

Again, would we intentionally reject such a blessing?

Consider the blessings that come unto you and your household by being a full tithe payer.  For some, paying tithing is a natural as breathing. for others, it is a struggle.

Elder Dallin H Oakes  speaks fondly of his mother and what he learned from her example “My widowed mother supported her three young children on a schoolteacher’s salary that was meager.  When I became conscious that we went without some desirable things…., I asked my mother why she paid so much of her salary as tithing.  I have never forgotten her explanation:  ‘Dallin, there might be some people who can get along without paying tithing, but we can’t.  The Lord has chosen to take your father and leave me to raise you children.  I cannot do that without that blessings of the Lord, and I obtain those blessings by paying an honest tithing,  When I pay my tithing, I have the Lord’s promise that he will bless us, and we must have those blessings if we are to get along.’”

As a widow, myself, I live according to the same experiences as Elder Oakes mother.  I need the blessings of the Lord to get by.

Throughout my research on this topic, I found myself focusing on the blessings of paying tithing.

  • Paying tithing allows us the blessing of going to the temple and doing the work for our ancestors ourselves, of being there as the links of the generations are joined together.  We may feel the presence of our ancestors as we do their work.  We can be sealed to our families and receive the blessings of eternity.   When asked whether members of the Church could be baptized for the dead if they had not paid their tithing, President John Taylor said, “A man who has not paid his tithing is unfit to be baptized for his dead….if  a man has not faith enough to attend to these little things, he has not enough faith enough to save himself and his friends” (Tithing: A Test of Faith…..).
  • Tithing develops and tests our faith. By sacrificing to the Lord what we may think we need or want for ourselves, we learn to rely on Him.  Our faith in Him makes it possible to keep temple covenants.  “The obedient payment of tithing fortifies our faith, and that faith sustains us through the trials, tribulations and sorrows in our life’s journey.”  (Tithing": A Test of Faith…..)
  • President James E. Faust taught that paying tithing strengthens marriages, is an excellent insurance against divorce, that it keeps the Spiritual battery charged  (Enriching Your Marriage, Ensign, Apr. 2007, 4-8).
  • Paying tithing teaches us to control our desires and passions for the things of this world.   A young husband and father living on  a student budget said to Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, of the Quorum of the Twelve,  “Perhaps our most pivotal moments as Latter-day Saints come when we have to swim directly against the current of the culture in which we  live.  Tithing provides just such a moment.  Living in a world that emphasizes material acquisition and cultivates distrust for anyone or anything that has designs on our money, we shed that self-absorption to give freely, trustingly, and generously.  By this act, we say—indeed- we are different, that we are God’s peculiar people.  In a society that tells us money is our most important asset, we declare emphatically it is not.”  (Like a Watered Garden, Ensign, Nov 2001, 33)
  • Paying tithing encourages us to be honest in our dealings with our fellow man.
  • In Malachai 3:11, we are promised that the Lord shall rebuke the devourer for our sake.

It’s not possible to name all the blessings received, as there is not room enough to receive them, but just a small attractive list. How have you been blessed?

The Lord desires all His children to have the blessings of tithing. Not just the adults. Consider how you teach your family about the Law of Tithing.  If your children are taught by you, they are more prepared and less vulnerable to the temptations of the world when clothes and expensive possessions they really cannot afford abound.  Their tithing may be only  a few pennies right now, but the lesson is what is important.  If it is already their lifestyle, they will be less vulnerable in their teens when the things of this world become more attractive.

Elder Hales taught, “As the years go on, is it possible that a young man can be ordained an elder, serve a mission and effectively teach a law to others that he has not lived himself?  When he returns home and faces the pressures of schooling, starting a family,  and a career, will the law of tithing become easier to live.  Likewise, will a young woman be worthy to serve the Lord and make celestial marriage covenants without having gained a testimony of tithing for herself?  Will she be prepared to teach her children a law she has not learned by her own experience?  Oh what faithfulness is required of fathers and mothers who would unitedly call down the protective blessings of tithing upon their family and the blessings are rightfully theirs.  Said President Lorenzo Snow:  ‘Teach the children to pay tithing, so that it may be perpetually observed.  IF we observe this law, no matter what our enemies may do, the Lord will preserve us."’”

As I go about living my life, I receive counsel from the Lord on purchases, whether to go ahead and buy, wait, or even skip it all together.  Things always just come together, amazingly enough. The money is there for daily needs and even when something unexpected comes up.  We’re doing okay, thanks to the promises of the Lord. 

Prepare yourselves to be amazed.   The Lord wishes to bless His children.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Clay Pot Nativity

One of the most precious things I’ve ever seen was this home made clay pot nativity I found at a flea market shop.  I snatched it up as fast as I could and have made a few move since.  I made these one  December with an Activity Days group, who loved it!
I neglected to measure the pots, and the packages don’t say, either, but they are the smaller ones you find at your craft store.   I have used 2 different sizes of pots at different times.  They work,  Just look them over and see what will work with your wood balls.
You basic needs are: 
  • two sizes of small pots,
  • 1 inch wood balls for Baby Jesus,
  • 1 1/2 –1 3/4 inch wood balls with flat bottom for Mary and Joseph,
  • acrylic craft paint in skin tone of choice,
  • white paint,
  • black paint,
  • paint for clothing color of choice,
  • fabrics to coordinate with paint color ,
  • scrap of white muslin,
  • moss color of choice (for baby’s bed),
  • raffia,
  • craft wire-color of choice (opt),
  • paint brushes,
  • hot glue gun and glue sticks.
Protect your work area with news paper. 
For Baby Jesus,  you need:
  • 1 of the smallest pots
  • to fit a 1-inch wood ball inside
  • moss
  • skin tone paint, white paint, black paint
  • white muslin, 1- 1/2” x 5 inches
Paint the wood ball skin tone color and let dry.
Fold white muslin in half lengthwise so it is 3/4 inch wide and 5 inches long.  Wrap around wood ball, with folded edge toward you, and add a drop of hot glue to secure fabric “under chin”. Fold up excess fabric against ball, hot glue in place.  Put desired amount of moss into smallest pot, add Baby Jesus, hot gluing in place.
For Mary and Joseph you need:
  • 1 -1/2  inch - 1-3/4 inch wood balls for each
  • clay pots, 2 -1/2 inch– 3 inch sized for each (bigger than the manger pots)
  • paint color of choice for “robes”, coordinating fabric for head dress for each
  • raffia
For Mary and Joseph, you need to paint only the front half of the pot, as the back is covered.  Let dry.  Paint the wood balls skin tone color of choice and let dry.  You may paint their faces now, but I choose to do it later.  Add a Raffia bow (about 12 inches of raffia) around Mary’s middle, hot glue in place.
100_7024 100_7029
Hot glue the painted heads in place. 
Fold over a small portion of the long side of fabric 2 times.  Secure into place around faces.
Fold under excess fabric, tucking inside clay pot, hot gluing in place. Bring some of the fabric forward to overlap the front fold at the hem for a neater look, hot gluing in place, again.
100_7031  100_7032
Add a raffia tie around Joseph’s head and tie a knot in place.  If desired, cut a strip of wire, shaping into a staff and secure with hot glue into fold of Joseph’s head dress.100_7033
Paint their faces with 2 black dots and 2 white dots.  Let dry.  Spray with sealer, if desired, and ENJOY.  Enjoy the holiday season, my friends!
100_7036 This is the original Nativity I bought a few years ago.  This one has green moss in Baby Jesus’ manger and a green florist wire hook as Joseph’s staff.  How cute is this!
Teresa is a widow who loves the Christmas season best.  Her Christmas tree goes up on September 1 and comes down in the Spring.  You can find her whistling Christmas Carols up and down the Christmas aisles and at Wockenflock Daze.

Christmas Light House


100_6989This is my unfinished version.  Decorate as you please

You need:

  • 1 -12 inch clay pot
  • 1- 8-inch clay pot
  • 1-6-inch clay pot
  • green acrylic paint
  • trim color as you desire (I used gold)
  • buttons and bows for decor
  • solar light
  • hot blue
  • sealer, if desired

Cover  your work space.  Paint your pots in desired colors

100_6972 100_6973

starting with rims.  Let dry. Stack and decorate as desired.  Spray with sealer.


You can see my original in the background.  This green one is smaller than the original.  My craft store didn’t have the 14-inch bottom pot the day I went looking,so I went the next size down.  If you want the larger pots, use 1- 14-inch pot, 1- 10-inch pot and 1-8 -inch pot.

100_6990 doubled up the buttons in some places

I also made different sized trees.

100_6988 The bottom is the 12-inch pot, and just stacked up.  I made one using a 6 inch pot, 4-inch pot and a 2 inch pot.  The star on top is a glittery Christmas  Ornament hot glued to hole in the top.

100_7019 I used smaller sized pots and a 1-inch wood ball on top, painted it yellow and hot glued a flat show flake.

Use your imagination!  Have fun!

Teresa loves the Christmas season and can be found whistling Christmas Carols in July and at Wockenflock Daze.  Her Christmas tree goes up on September 1.