The printable quotes in this post are free for personal use only. They may not be sold or altered in any way. Thank you!

Back in 1998 sister Julene Butler gave a speech at Brigham Young University. She said of herself: “The shy, self-conscious, insecure person that I was at that time [earlier in her life] could never have imagined this moment...I would like to speak to those of you who may be where I was at that time—those of you who may not yet know what you have to share with others or those who may long to become something more than you now are, something that seems very far out of reach. I want to talk about how we see ourselves and discuss some of the steps we can take to see ourselves more clearly. I believe this subject is relevant not only to those of you who are trying to discover your potential, but also to those who are seeking to move beyond past boundaries, to chart new personal territories, and to discover more of your eternal potential.”

She continued on to say she had had a few different experiences that caused her to think about how we perceive, and that the scripture in 1 Corinthians 13:12 came to her mind: “For now we see through a glass darkly”.

She continued, “New Testament commentaries teach us that the word translated here as glass actually refers to a mirror. The imagery Paul invokes in his statement may be unclear to those of us who know mirrors as the clear reflective glass we look into every day. When you try to envision what it is to look “through a glass, darkly,” perhaps you, like me, see a steam-covered bathroom mirror after a shower. But if we consider the imagery in the context of Paul’s times, the phrase “looking through a mirror, darkly” carries powerful implications… A mirror in Paul’s day was not made of glass but of metal, and it required constant polishing. One commentator stated that “a sponge with pounded pumice-stone was generally attached” to the mirror. This allowed the user to polish the metal before use in order to remove the tarnish and more clearly see the reflection… When we peer at ourselves in that imperfect mirror, what do we see? What blemishes seem to be there that would disappear if our glass were more highly polished? What dimensions do we fail to see?... We can sharpen and clarify our vision of ourselves so that an eternal perspective permeates the self-image that drives our lives.



Would you say that statement is true? That our own self-image drives the direction of our lives? For me personally I know it is true. As a teenager dealing with severe depression I felt ugly physically and emotionally, and utterly worthless. Because I assumed no one would want to talk to me, I rarely reached out to anyone else. Because I felt worthless I dressed in large baggy clothes, trying to hide myself from the perceived scrutiny of others. I projected my feelings of self-hate onto those around me, assuming they must feel the same way about me that I did about myself. It made me uneasy, suspicious, despairing, and prone to false interpretations of others actions and words. My hatred of myself played a part in everything I did and felt.

In a class a few weeks ago, our instructor wrote the following on the board:
STIMULUS                     RESPONSE

Between every stimulus and response lies what? An interpretation. How you perceive the event. And that interpretation is what truly drives our responses; our actions, our inactions, our interactions with others. Our interpretation of ourselves absolutely affects the way we interpret others and the things we do. Is your interpretation of yourself one of mostly love and understanding? If it isn’t, how can you change it into something more positive? Obviously it’s a continual process. We ride on the highs and lows of self image. It took many years for me of slow healing and even now I still have relapses into depression and feelings of worthlessness but my faith in the fact that I am loved by God, even when I can’t seem to feel it, sustains me when this happens.

You are a child of heavenly parents. They do know your name. They are aware of your feelings. They give more support than we will ever be able to recognize with our mortal eyes. And because they love you and trust you sometimes they let you struggle alone, because they know what you will learn and what you can become.



Sister Butler continued: “I wonder how often, in life’s circumstances, do we focus only on our weaknesses, on those areas where we fall short, where we would like to improve? Do we give equal time to our strengths? Do we look beyond the surface and seek to discover the qualities that lie latent within us, waiting to be nurtured and developed? Or do we wallow in what we are not, or what we don’t have?... It is important to examine our weaknesses, but we must keep them in perspective and let them motivate us to stretch for better things rather than allowing them to obscure the view of our eternal potential.”

As a child of Heavenly parents your potential is limitless. This mortal life is a mere fissure compared to the vast canyon of eternity and the growth and education that awaits us there, but we don’t have to wait for eternity to discover many truths about and dormant strengths within ourselves. Understanding our relationship to God, and learning to love ourselves is a key motivating factor in this regard! In knowing and placing our faith in God’s love for us, we can be motivated to reach higher and to do more than we might have ever thought possible.


I will not say that you have to love yourself before you can love anyone else. I certainly felt great love for my family and close friends even when I couldn’t stand myself. But I do believe that it is probably easier to assume the best, to be more patient, to be more understanding, to be more forgiving, when we treat ourselves accordingly.

As we remember that we are children of God, let us remember that all others with whom we come into contact are too. C.S. Lewis once said, “It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember the dullest most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship...There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal... it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit.”




Though we are as numberless as the stars, each of us are children of Heavenly parents and they love us. I know that as a parent the thing that breaks my heart the most is to see my children being mean to each other. In our simple day to day interactions with strangers, co-workers or family members, do we stop to consider whether our interpretation of their actions or words might be incorrect? Do we assume the best of others as often as possible?

Perhaps sometimes the best cannot be assumed as in cases of betrayal, neglect, or abuse by people we once trusted. But I think God is pleased even if we can only sincerely desire to be rid of feelings contrary to love. And with His help, maybe someday that desire can come to pass.

We know that we are here on earth with all of its joys and troubles to learn things that only experience can teach us. We are children of a Heavenly Father and a Heavenly Mother who sent us here to learn and grow, and ultimately to become like them. There plan for us is called the Plan of Salvation.

Elder David A. Bednar has taught: “The revelations teach us that “the glory of God is intelligence” (D&C 93:36). We typically may think the word intelligence in this scripture denotes innate cognitive ability or a particular gift for academic work. In this verse, however, one of the meanings of intelligence is the application of the knowledge we obtain for righteous purposes. As President David O. McKay taught, the learning “for which the Church stands...is the application of knowledge to the development of a noble and Godlike character.”

Why does the so called temporal matter? Shouldn’t it be more important to spend our days devoted only to spiritual thought, to piety in every word and deed? No, because the temporal and the spiritual are utterly intertwined. We may not remember every detail of everything there is to learn about in life but the process of learning helps shape our character. It can teach us how to study and how to work hard in addition to providing us with types and shadows of eternal truth. All things on earth and in the Heavens testify of God. Think for a moment about lessons, or truths you have noticed or learned from an observation of seemingly temporal things or processes.



I think immediately of the way a caterpillar changes into a butterfly. Before a caterpillar has even hatched it grows an imaginal disc for each of the adult body parts it will need later on. When it's ready to transform it doesn't build a chrysallis around itself, rather it sheds its skin to reveal the chrysalis already inside of it. While it is encased in the chrysalis the caterpillar dissolves all of its body tissues excepting the discs. Then the discs use the dissolved tissue to form the new adult features that will become a butterfly.

Like each caterpillar I believe we all have amazing abilities and potential inside. And like a caterpillar the process of being broken is what allows something new and even more marvelous to emerge. The most important question then becomes, what will we do with the beauty and knowledge we've gained? Our Heavenly parents want us not just to discover our own true desires and abilities, but to assist others in discovering the same truths. So now we come to the following word, which may seem out of place.

SELF-RELIANCE.

Too often we hear or see this word and think: food storage, 72 hour kits, gardening, etc. Those are products of self-reliance but that is not what self-reliance really is. An exerpt from lds.org reads: “When we are self-reliant, we USE the blessings and abilities God has given us to care for ourselves and our families and find solutions to our own problems. As we practice an attitude of self-reliance, we are also better able to serve and care for others.  

Elder Russell M. Nelson’s recent conference talk, “A Plea to My Sisters” was all about becoming more spiritually self reliant so that when others we interact with have questions, we are prepared to answer, and to bear testimony. That is, just like helping the physically hungry or needy, imparting of our substance; the substance of light and knowledge that we have gathered and stored up inside our souls.

Marion G. Romeny taught: “Can we see how critical self-reliance becomes when looked upon as the prerequisite to service, when we also know service is what Godhood is all about? Without self-reliance once cannot exercise innate desires to serve. How can we give if there is nothing there? Food for the hungry cannot come from empty shelves. Money to assist the needy cannot come from an empty purse. Support and understanding cannot come from the emotionally starved. Teaching cannot come from the unlearned. And most important of all, spiritual guidance cannot come from the spiritually weak.”

When we really see ourselves as God sees us, we are motivated to learn more and become more. When we see others as God sees them, we are more charitable in our attitude toward them. With the confidence, knowledge, and abilities we gain from clearly perceiving the first, and the generosity of spirit we derive from the second, we are fully equipped to spread physical and temporal service whereve we live. God doesn’t care what we don’t have to offer.  All He asks is that we willingly use whatever blessings and abilities we do have, to serve each other.  

In closing I'd like to share a quote from Richard G. Scott: “In discussing these principles with you today I have had one desire: that somehow in the mind and heart of each of us there might be generated, as though we were talking to ourselves, this sort of conviction: “I am truly and deeply loved of the Lord. he will do all in his power for my happiness. The key to unlock that power is in myself. While others will counsel, suggest, exhort, and urge, the Lord has given me the responsibility and the agency to make the basic decisions for my happiness and eternal progress...This, coupled with full obedience to the commandments of God and selfless service to and genuine concern for others, will purge fear from my heart and condition me to receive and to interpret the divine aid given to mark my path with clarity…No friend, bishop, stake president, or General Authority can do this for me. It is my divine right to do it for myself. I will be at peace; I will be happy; I will have a rewarding, productive, meaningful life.”

SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY






After 15 years of marriage and nothing but hand me downs or thrift store buys, it was time. Time for a nice bed (and hopefully soon, nightstands to match). I decided on the Ana White Queen Farmhouse Bed, and I am so pleased with how it turned out!



Here are some pictures of the bed in progress. Note to self, two men at my local Lowe's said the 4x4 posts I bought from them were too big to cut for me. I think they were being lazy. In any case don't buy wood from them again.


So here's what you have to do when Lowe's won't cut the posts for you. It was hard, messy work but I built some muscle and eventually got four of these cut to size.



Here is the footer sandwiched and clamped together while the wood glue dries.


And here are both the header and footer, assembled, sanded and ready for some stain. I told my husband we had to agree on a color from the Rust-Oleum Ultimate Wood Stain Line since that is my favorite type of stain. It's so easy to use and it dries so fast. We chose American Walnut and I put on two coats.
My laundry room is very small. It has a washer and a dryer and one shelf. A shelf that is so tall I can reach nothing on top of it without a step stool. For two years now I've dealt with it but I couldn't handle the clutter anymore. It was finally time to add some extra shelving. Voila!




I searched pinterest for ideas and found only one that I really liked. This Cleaning Storage Tower from That's My Letter.


But I knew I wanted to paint the whole thing so that eliminated the strong tie hardware. I used 2x2's for the side supports since I had some in my scrap pile. Ana White's console table was the perfect depth for my space so I used depth measurements from that. I also switched the way some of the 2x4's lay; skinny side forward for the front and back supports. Thanks for the inspiration #anawhite and #thatsmyletter!

On to the DIY!

Cut List:

6 - 2x4 @ 20 1/4" (Legs)
13 2x4 @ 20 1/4" (Front and Back Supports)
10 - 2x2 @ 11 1/4" (Side Supports)
2 - 3/4" plywood @ 45" w x 18 1/4" d (long shelves)
2 - 3/4" plywood @ 23 1/4" w x 18 1/4" d (short shelves)
Kreg Jig
Jig Saw
2 1/2" Pocket Hole Screws
1 1/2" Wood screws
Paintable caulk




STEP 1: Make the frames. You'll use 3 of your 83 1/4" 2x4's and 6 of your 20 1/4" 2x4"s for each frame. The space between shelves is about 24 1/4" give or take. Just make sure the spacing is exactly the same on both frames.




STEP 2: Drill one pocket hole at each end of each of your 2x2's. Attach 2x2's with  1 1/2" pocket holes and 2 1/2" pocket hole screws, drilling into the legs of the frame. Then attach to the other frame with the pocket hole on the other side of your 2x2. What I did to do that, was put the frame without the 2x2's, flat on the floor, and then I flipped the 2x2 laden frame over and matched it on top of the plain frame and screwed everything together.




Here is the frame assembled. I forgot to take a picture after I added the 2x4 which now holds my broom, mop, duster, etc. Pictured below is about where you'll want to add your 2x4. Again, use your kreg jig and create pocket holes to attach.




Initially I was going to screw 1x12 boards in between the 2x2 side spacers and 2x4 front and back spacer, like in Ana White's console table plan, but then I remembered that my hubby bought me a jigsaw so I gave the notched plywood boards a try. Here is a board measured, marked, and ready to be cut.



And here is the shelf in position.


After the shelves were cut and in place I countersunk 1 1/2" wood screws through the plywood and into the supports to secure. Then I used wood filler where it was needed and sanded everything down. Then I used paintable caulk to seal any additional cracks (mostly around where the plywood was notched). I then used two coats of Behr Marquee paint in Falling Snow (PPU 18-7) to cover it, followed by two coats of Minwax water based Polycrylic.



And a view taken as I perch precariously on top of my dryer and lean against the side wall.


You can see that I installed two large utility hooks underneath the top 2x2 support, to hold my ironing board. I found them at Home Depot for around $2 each. I also found the spring grip bar at Home Depot for around $7. 


I am still playing around with organizing it, but already I am enjoying so much extra storage space!
Harmony, calm, quiet, serenity, tranquility, restfulness, stillness, fellowship, connection, empathy, cohesion, unity, understanding, freedom. These are all words that describe peace. When I looked up the definition of peace in various online dictionaries I found basically the same three meanings. Freedom from fighting or war, freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions and harmony in personal relations.

I think all of these synonyms are applicable to peace. What is interesting to me is that with all of its synonyms (which are far more than we have listed here) and how broadly the concept of peace is understood, it can be such a hard thing to cultivate in our own lives.

I want to you to ask yourself, at this moment, are you at peace with your life? Are you at peace with yourself? Are you at peace with others? If not, why? What are obstacles that may be preventing more peace in your life. A few may be:

  • Expectations
  • Agency of others
  • Self Doubt
  • Resentment
  • Financial Insecurity
  • Health problems
  • Children

Obviously this is only a small list. There are a myriad of causes of anxiety and distress in life. We could go on and on. Now, however, I want you to think about things you do to try and bring peace to yourself. Things that might be spiritual in nature or just simple things that help relieve stress at the end of a rough day or help you maintain a peaceful, positive attitude in general. Perhaps you read, or shop, or pray, or relax in a bubble bath. There are many ways we can be active in helping alleviate some of the stresses in our lives, particularly when it comes to one item on the list above. Something that seems to be the root of most obstacles to peace.

Expectations

Whether unrealistic or not, when we hold ourselves or others to certain expectations and they don’t measure up, it will be hard to have peace.



Elder Jeffrey R. Holland has taught, “The search for peace is one of the ultimate quests of the human soul. We all have highs and lows, but such times come and they usually always go. Kind neighbors assist. Beautiful sunshine brings encouragement. A good night’s sleep usually works wonders. But there are times in all of our lives when deep sorrow or suffering or fear or loneliness makes us cry out for the peace which only God Himself can bring. These are times of piercing spiritual hunger when even the dearest friends cannot fully come to our aid.
Perhaps you know people... who are walking through the dark valleys of this world’s tribulation. Some may be desperately worried about a [family member], worried about their [own] health or their happiness or their faithfulness in keeping the commandments. Some are living with physical pain, or emotional pain, or disabilities that come with age. Some are troubled as to how to make ends meet financially, and some ache with the private loneliness of an empty house or an empty room or simply empty arms.
These beloved people seek the Lord and His word with particular urgency...they are tired in brain and body and heart, they wonder if they can get through another week or another day or sometimes just another hour. They are desperate for the Lord’s help and they know that in such times of extremity nothing else will do.
...At least one of the purposes of general conference and the teachings of the prophets down through the ages is to declare to these very people that the Lord is equally fervent in trying to reach them, that when there is trouble His hopes and His striving and His efforts greatly exceed our own and it never ceases. We have been promised,  “He that keepeth us will not slumber, ...nor will he sleep. Christ and His angels and His prophets forever labor to buoy up our spirits, steady our nerves, calm our hearts, send us forth with renewed strength and resolute hope. They will all to know that “if God be for us, who can be against us?” In the the world we shall have tribulation, but we are to be of good cheer. Christ has overcome the world. Through His suffering and His obedience He has earned and rightly bears the crown of “Prince of Peace.”


President Howard W. Hunter recalled one of the great stories of Christ’s triumph over that which seems to test us and try us and bring fear to our hearts.

“As Christ’s disciples had set out on one of their frequent journeys across the Sea of Galilee, the night was dark and the elements were strong and contrary. The waves were boisterous and the wind was bold, and these mortal, frail men were frightened. Unfortunately there was no one with them to calm and save them, for Jesus had been left alone upon the shore. As always, he was watching over them. He loved them and cared for them, In their moment of greatest extremity they looked and saw in the darkness an image in a fluttering robe, walking toward them on the ridges of the sea. They cried out in terror at the sight, thinking that it was a phantom that walked upon the waves. And through the storm and darkness to them - as so often to us, when, amid the darknesses of life, the ocean seems so great and our little boats so small - there came the ultimate and reassuring voice of peace with this simple declaration, “It is I; be not afraid.”
Peter exclaimed, “Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.” And Christ’s answer to him was the same as to all of us. “Come.”
Peter sprang over the vessel’s side and into the troubled waves, and while his eyes were fixed upon the Lord, the wind might toss his hair and the spray might drench his robes, but all was well. Only when with wavering faith he removed his glance from the Master to look at the furious waves and the black gulf beneath him, only then did he begin to sink. Again, like most of us, he cried, “Lord, save me.” Nor did Jesus fail him. he stretched out his hand and grasped the drowning disciple with the gentle rebuke, “O thou of little faith, why didst thou doubt?”
It is my firm belief that if as individual people, as families, communities, and nations, we could, like Peter, fix our eyes on Jesus, we too might walk triumphantly over the “swelling waves of disbelief” and remain “unterrified amid the rising winds of doubt.” But if we turn away our eyes from him in whom we must believe, as it is so easy to do and the world is so much tempted to do, if we look to the power and fury of those terrible and destructive elements around us rather than to him who can help and save us, then we shall inevitably sink in a sea of conflict and sorrow and despair.”



Elder Holland has said that, “...for real and abiding peace to come, we must strive to be more like that exemplary Son of God….Sometimes, we bring a lack of peace upon ourselves, by our failure to look to or act like Christ. But there are times, where it seems peace should be our reward for virtuous living yet is not.”

The following is an excerpt from a talk given by Elder Holland in the October 1996 General Conference, titled, “The Peaceable Things of the Kingdom”

“Yes, peace is a very precious commodity, a truly heartfelt need, and there are many things we can do to achieve it. But-for whatever reason-life has its moments when uninterrupted peace may seem to elude us for a season. We may wonder why there are such times in life, particularly when we may be trying harder than we have ever tried to live worthy of God’s blessings and obtain His help. When problems or sorrows or sadness come and they don’t seem to be our fault, what are we to make of their unwelcome appearance?
With time and perspective we recognize that such problems in life do come for a purpose, if only to allow the one who faces such despair to be convinced that he really does need divine strength beyond himself, that she really does need the offer of heaven’s hand. Those who feel no need for mercy usually never seek it and almost never bestow it. Those who have never had a heartache or a weakness or felt lonely or forsaken never have had to cry unto heaven for relief of such personal pain. Surely it is better to find the goodness of God and the grace of Christ, even at the price of despair, than to risk living our lives in a moral or material complacency that has never felt any need for faith or forgiveness, any need for redemption or relief.”

As many of you know, I’ve struggled with mental illness for as long as I can remember. There was a time where I kept it to myself and tried to box it up and put it into a dark corner and then I got panic disorder and all my facades were ripped away from me and I became so tired of being terrified that I didn’t care who knew what about me anymore. I’m grateful for that because it allowed me to open up enough to a therapists to finally be diagnosed and because I have been able to help others who are struggling with the same things. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and the depression and anxiety which stem from it have been my constant companions in life and they were a lot worse when I was young and misconceptions about why it was all happening to me. Sometimes well meaning individuals and even scripture can imply things to a mind that is already laden with guilt or fear. For a long time I thought that I must be a really awful person. The scripture would come to mind about how despair cometh because of iniquity and though I didn’t know just what I had done I knew that I felt despair and so I must be a vile person. How much peace and freedom came to my mind when I started to realize that wasn’t true. That we live in a fallen world where bad things happen and peace can’t be fully recognized without going through those things. I don’t know if I believe every specific thing a person goes through is what was meant to be but I know that we can grow from whatever comes our way if we look to Christ.  Certainly despair can come from iniquity but that is not the only source of it. I want to share some insight with you from an article in the January 2009 Ensign magazine. It’s titled: “From Bipolar Disorder: My Lessons, in Love, Hope and Peace.

“It is common to hear a talk in which sin is identified as the cause of depression. Sin certainly can cause us to sink into a deep abyss, but it is not the cause of all feelings of depression. If sin is weighing us down,...the Savior’s Atonement can rescue us from the pains of sin and make us clean again. Depression may not be immediately lifted upon complete repentance, but we can still move forward.
In instances when sin is not the cause of depression, it is crucial that we not second-guess ourselves. Feelings of profound guilt are common in people who are depressed. In such circumstances, the guilt is usually not proportional to the trivial mistakes they may have made. Realizing that guilt is unsubstantiated may not eliminate it, but this knowledge can temper the severity of these feelings.”

For now, I have accepted that sometimes I will have periods of peace and sometimes my mind will be in chaos, no matter how good I’m trying to be. But I do have an overall peace of conscience and peace of soul when I look to Christ who promises to one day make my peace perfect and everlasting.
There are some great free printables from the blog, Let's Get Together, that tie in with this lesson. The author links to talks and activities that help supplement teaching about Christ's attributes and would make a great resource for a course of extended study or for family home evenings.


President Ezra Taft Benson taught: “Two thousand years ago a perfect man walked the earth: Jesus the Christ. he was the son of a heavenly father and an earthly mother. He is the God of this world, under the Father. He taught men truth, that they might be free. His example and precepts provide the great standard, the only sure way, for all mankind.

No other single influence has had so great an impact on this earth as the life of Jesus the Christ. We cannot conceive of our lives without his teachings. Without him we would be lost in a mirage of beliefs and worships, born in fear and darkness where the sensual and materialistic hold sway. We are far short of the goal he set for us, but we must never lost sight of it; nor must we forget that our great climb toward the light, toward perfection, would not be possible except for his teachings, his life, his death, and his resurrection.

In the 14th chapter of John, Jesus is tenderly saying his farewell to his disciples after the last supper. He tells them that he goes to prepare a place for them in his Father’s house; that where he is, they also may be. And Thomas says to him: “Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

The road lies before us, it is clearly marked.”

We must become like Christ.

Ezra Taft Benson continued, "‘What would Jesus do?’ or ‘What would He have me do?’ are the paramount personal questions of this life. Walking in His way is the greatest achievement of life. That man or woman is most truly successful whose life most closely parallels that of the Master.”

In order to become like the Savior, we obviously need to know what he was like. Thankfully scripture is filled with accounts of his doings and his teachings. So let’s looks at just some of the many wonderful attributes of Jesus Christ. I've selected a quote or quotes for each attribute that help strengthen our understanding of that attribute. As we work to apply these Christlike traits more fully in our lives, we become closer to Him and to being like Him.

ATTRIBUTES OF CHRIST

Faith

Quote 1: “[To have Faith in Christ] means, of course, trying to do all that He says. There would be no sense in saying you trusted a person if you would not take his advice. Thus if you have really handed yourself over to Him, it must follow that you are trying to obey Him.”

Quote 2: “When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and get off. You sit still and trust the engineer.” - Corrie Ten Boom

Hope

Quote 3: “Hope is one of the Theological virtues. This means that a continual looking forward to the eternal world is not (as some modern people think) a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do. It does not mean that we are to leave the present world as it is. If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next.” - C.S. Lewis
Charity

Quote 4: “Perhaps the greatest charity comes when we are kind to each other, when we don’t judge or categorize someone else, when we simply give each other the benefit of the doubt or remain quiet. Charity is accepting someone’s differences, weaknesses, and shortcomings; having patience with someone who has let us down or resisting the impulse to become offended when someone doesn’t handle something the way we might have hoped. Charity is refusing to take advantage of another’s weakness and being willing to forgive someone who has hurt us. Charity is expecting the best of each other.” - Marvin J. Ashton

Diligence

Quote 5: “Progress means getting nearer to the place you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turning, then to go forward does not get you any nearer.
If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man.”

Knowledge

Quotes 6: “Of all treasures of knowledge, the most vital is the knowledge of God.” - Spencer W. Kimball

Quotes 7: “He cannot help us remember things we have not labored to learn.” - David A. Bednar

Patience

Quote 8: “Noah waited 120 years before the predicted rains arrived. Abraham waited 25 years for a promised son. Joseph waited 14 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Job waited perhaps a lifetime, 60-70 years for God’s justice. God prepares leaders in a slow cooker, not in a microwave oven. More important than the awaited goal is the work God does in us while we wait.” - John C. Maxwell

Humility

Quote 9: “Humility is selfless, not selfish. It doesn’t demand its own way or speak with moral superiority. Instead, humility answers softly and listens kindly for understanding, not vindication. Humility recognizes that no one can change someone else, but with faith, effort, and the help of God, we can undergo our own mighty change of heart.” L. Whitney Clayton

Quote 10: “We draw people to Christ not by loudly discrediting what they believe, by telling them how wrong they are and how right we are, but by showing them a light that is so lovely that they want with all of their hearts to know the source of it.” - Madeleine L’Engle

Virtue

Quote 11: “If thoughts make us what we are, and we are to be like Christ, then we must think Christlike thoughts. Let me repeat that: If thoughts make us what we are, and we are to be like Christ, we must think Christlike thoughts.” - Ezra Taft Benson

Obedience

Quote 12: “Good and evil both increase at compound interest. That is why the little decisions you and I make every day are of such infinite importance. The smallest good act today is the capture of a strategic point from which, a few months later, you may be able to go on to victories you never dreamed of. An apparently trivial indulgence in lust or anger today is the loss of a ridge or railway line or bridgehead from which the enemy may launch an attack otherwise impossible.”

PERFECTION IS A PROCESS

Elder James E. Talmage gave a parable of the Owl Express. He wrote:

"During my college days, I was one of a class of students appointed to fieldwork as a part of our prescribed courses in geology...A certain assignment had kept us in the field many days...As the time allotted to the investigation drew near its close, we were overtaken by a violent windstorm, followed by a heavy snow - unseasonable and unexpected, but which, nevertheless, increased in intensity so that we were in danger of being snowbound in the hills. The storm reached its height while we were descending a long and steep mountainside several miles from the little railway station at which we hoped to take a train that night for home. With great effort we reached the station late at night while the storm was yet raging...
...The train for which we so expectantly and hopefully waited was the Owl Express - a fast night train connecting large cities...
Long after midnight the train arrived in a terrific whirl of wind and snow. I lingered behind my companions as they hurriedly clambered aboard, for I was attracted by the engineer, who during the brief stop, while his assistant was attending to water replenishment, bustled about the engine, oiling some parts, adjusting others, and generally overhauling the panting locomotive. I ventured to speak to him, busy though he was. I asked how he felt on such a night - wild, weird, and furious, when the powers of destruction seemed to be let loose, abroad and uncontrolled, when the storm was howling and when danger threatened from every side...
His answer was a lesson not yet forgotten. In effect he said...."Look at the engine headlight. Doesn't that light up the track for a hundred yards or more? Well, all I try to do is to cover that hundred yards of lighted track. That I can see, and for that distance I know the road bend is open and safe...The light of the engine is always ahead of me!"

That engineer moved his train along the track, one lit up segment  at a time and that is all we are expected to do as well. We must remember that progress is often slow, and that slow is just fine. Ants build their mounds one grain of sand at a time. Birds build their nests a few twigs at a time, some taking weeks to fully construct. God doesn’t care as much about where you have been as he does about where you are and where you are willing to go.

However, sometimes what we see most when we look to Jesus or other good people we admire, are all the ways in which we fall short of them. This may result in giving up on ourselves or in frenzied attempts to better ourselves faster than we are able.

President Lorenzo Snow said: “Do not expect to become perfect at once. If you do, you will be disappointed. Be better today than you were yesterday, and be better tomorrow than you are today.”

And Mosiah 4:27 reads,  “And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength.”

We don't need to be perfect in every aspect all at once. We only need to be trying each day to be a little better. Every choice we make for good is progress. Every unwise choice we make and try to remedy, we are making slow, beautiful, important progress. It is because of Christ that we can try again, that our slates are wiped clean. His example, His love and His kindness are the greatest of gifts all year through and with his help we really can become like Him. He does wipe away all tears, He does make all things right and He truly does love you.