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Stephanie and Christian Nielson recently survived a plane crash but are badly burned and will have a long and difficult recovery.  They have four young children.  I found out about them via a blog that I sometimes read, and through the miracle of the internet, many, many people are joining together to help raise funds to assist with medical bills and other expenses during this family’s rehabilitation.

To participate and or to read more about Stephanie and Christian, click below.

There are hundreds of items being auctioned to raise money; check here for one such auction and here for a complete list of all auctions.

Spread the word- add the “Nie Recovery” button to your site, or bid on one of the many auctions going on.  Together we can all make a big difference for this family in their time of need.

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I’m not much of a gardener, but after years of thinking about it, this year I actually planted something- a few tomato plants.  It is a little embarrassing to include a picture of my little garden, but here it is anyway:

My two biggest mistakes were 1) planting too close together, and 2) not using some type of cage to support the plants as they grew and to encourage upward growth.  As a result, my plants are rather short and squatty.  The vines with lots of fruit droop to the ground.  I’ll definitely make some adjustments next year, and I’ll probably try some other produce- maybe some peppers, carrots, or cucumbers.

Though it isn’t much to look at, I love that I am producing something.  It’s a great feeling to nourish something and to see it grow and flourish (I use that rather loosely considering mine isn’t really an ideal garden).  It’s wonderful to see ripe, delicious fruit as a result of one’s labor.  It’s fun to be able to eat some tasty, freshly picked tomatoes and to be able to share them with neighbors and coworkers.

I was impressed this week with Alma’s counsel to his son Helaman:  “O my son, do not let us be slothful because of the easiness of the way…”  (Alma 37:46)

I believe that one of the greatest challenges of our day is complacency.  In addition to Alma’s concern, these prophetic quotes seem to support this idea:

  • “As a people, it seems we can survive persecution easier and better than we can peace and prosperity.” 
      –President Benson, Cleansing the Inner Vessel, General Conference, April 1986
  • “The worst fear that I have about this people is that they will get rich in this country, forget God and his people, wax fat, and kick themselves out of the Church and go to hell.  This people will stand mobbing, robbing, poverty, and all manner of persecution, and be true. But my greater fear for them is that they cannot stand wealth; and yet they have to be tried with riches, for they will become the richest people on this earth.”  -Brigham Young
  • “And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say:  All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well- and thus the devil cheateth their souls and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.”  –Nephi, speaking of the these last days; 2 Ne. 28:21

I recall other conference addresses encouraging us to consider the level of our consecration and commitment, and to drink more deeply of the living waters of the gospel.

Some might argue with Alma that the way really isn’t that easy.  But perhaps we sometimes make “the way” more difficult and complicated than it really is.  No one says that we have to be perfect today, but sometimes we may think that we have to be perfect.  We may unfairly judge and compare ourselves with others and diminish our own worth and value in the process.  We may try to run faster than we have strength.  And we may be discouraged with what seems like a lack of growth and progress in our lives.  Any or all of these things may impede our journey, but these are self-inflicted injuries and do not change the fact that “the way” really is easy.

Christ says “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  What matters, in my opinion, is our desire and that we are striving to improve, that we are humbly seeking to do the Lord’s will, and that we continually repent.  There is a fine line, I think, between exerting our own will to improve and in relying on the Lord and his grace, mercy, and atonement to make up for our deficiencies and to change us in ways that we cannot change ourselves.

What ideas do you have about avoiding the tendency to be complacent, slothful, or casual in our worship?