Reflections: pondering the Elder Bednar devotional

Elder David A Bednar was recently in Australia. We do not see Apostles here every day, and rarer still is a Prophet’s visit. Though I have listened in person to Spencer W Kimball, Howard W Hunter, Neal A Maxwell, L Tom Perry and Gordon B Hinckley twice: as Apostle and as Prophet. Plus, now Elder Bednar, though not actually in person. But hey, he was here on the same continent as me. So to me that counts.

David A Bednar

The Devotional was in the form of a Q and A session. Members were encouraged to ask serious relevant questions.

The questions ranged from how to change a teenager’s heart to  how to balance work home and family? How do we align our will with that of Heavenly Father, to what can we do to receive the gift of charity? How can we deal with indiscretion in marriage? How can we forgive, through to a single sister seeking guidance for her life circumstances? (that’s me paraphrasing)

Elder Bednar requested that beyond any notes that might be made of the questions and responses he would give, that those listening write down what the Holy Ghost prompted us to do….he encouraged the congregation to seek our own answers to our own specific questions as we listened to the stories and examples he shared.

We are of course, familiar with the lessons contained in the parables that Jesus shared with those seeking enlightenment from him.

For myself I came to understand more about the atonement that I had ever before. A few serious conversations over the next days. A quickening of the mind occurred, the spirit led me to understand the enabling power of the atonement. I had not grasped that before. As I reflected back through various experiences in the years since my baptism, I began to see over and over, a something far beyond my abilities, that truly enabled me to reach and stretch way beyond my natural ability. Smiling with recognition, a certain peaceful joy spread through me. I felt – feel a deep, soul-deep gratitude. I feel loved. I feel trusted. I feel a desire to be trusted even more. To be more worth.

Then into my life came an undesired irritating frustration. I expressed in simple terms how I felt. I received back way more than I expected or thought was deserved or needed. But now something happened. Something different. In the past I would have responded at length and in specific detail where I was at; however when you have learned something, really learned, you need to live by it, apply it. You need to be different. To act differently.  Thus I said nothing. Nothing outward. I turned instead to prayer. I felt a concern and love for what had been shared. I felt able to pray for the other person more than for me.  I felt a peace. I realised the atonement had again enabled me to step away from a habit of behaviour and be, in that moment, a better version of myself.

I am sure that I will not be 100% successful at this 100% of the time. However it is encouraging when one is in a sweeping learning curve, to be able to apply the lessons being taught.

Elder Bednar urged all those present to honour our ordinances and covenants.

Wondering what all this is about? Visit 

Did you attend? What did you learn? What have you learned about the atonement?


 Want to read more about life in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

Visit Mormon Women Stand.

Posted in Devotionals, Elder David A Bednar, Inspirational, Reflections, Special Events | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Katarina Jambresic publishes ‘A Global Testimony’

Katarina Jambresic’s journey from war-torn Croatia to Gordon B. Hinckley Presidential Scholar and the metropolis of New York City. 

She navigated her way through complex USA migration policies using faith and Tuesday fasting. Now she is the editor of A Global Testimony — 62 power conversion stories from around the world.

(Worldwide ordering options are below)

Read Part 1 of the Katarina Jambresic story: ‘Dreaming of the New World

Read Part 2 of Katarina’s story:  ‘Tuesday Fasting’ on Mormon Women Stand

Recently I had the opportunity to interview Katarina….

When did you start this project? The idea was born on April 21, 2013. I started the next day.

What was the inspiration for the book? I had felt prompted to author a faith-based book for about two years but no particular topic felt right. After a very inspiring fireside by Jeff Benedict, I called a friend to discuss it and he said, “Someone should write all these amazing conversion stories down.” The topic became crystal clear right there. “I should!!! And they should be from all over the world. One per country!” I envisioned the title as soon as I got off the phone. I never reconsidered it.

How did you locate the contributors? I couldn’t use Church emails for a personal project and I wanted to give everyone a chance, not just random friends of friends, so I used every avenue available to me. Probably the best connections came through fellow general conference translators. I had an excel spreadsheet with all the countries printed out and went booth to booth collecting emails while I was off the air. I was able to reach key people in many countries that way. I then turned to Facebook and joined every mission/country group on earth that accepted me. Alex Balinski of “Prepare to Serve” and Ben Arkell of “I Love the Book of Mormon” were especially helpful in spreading the word. I was telling everyone about it and New York is very international so a few came through people I knew, including Croatia, of course.

How has your faith assisted you through this whole process? It was an inspired project. I felt that excitement from the start when you just know you are doing exactly what you should be doing. It had been a while since I truly felt that so I knew the difference. It wasn’t until the first few stories came in, and really moved me, that I realized this would change lives. At that point no sacrifice seemed too big. The process is extremely time-consuming. I was immersed in it full-time while also working part-time so faith in this being a valuable creation and the right thing for me was an essential component.

What has been the greatest challenge for you, on this project? Time. I thought I would spread the word and the stories would just keep flying in. Then three weeks later, I would go through hundreds of them and pick the best one for each country. I still hope future projects go a lot faster but I did not anticipate the amount of emails and follow-up required to get just one story or even a photo – sometimes it went on for months. Many stories needed to be translated at least four of which I did myself (Spanish). I didn’t start editing till August of this year because taking time to do that meant nothing would be moving forward on the compiling side. Editing ESL text took full three months with another month added for proofreading. The median length of all books according to Amazon is 64,000 words. A Global Testimony is almost three times that.

Do you still fast on Tuesdays? How has this assisted on this project? Week days are great for fasting as there is typically not as much going on as there may be on your average Saturday night. I fast on any day that works best. And whoever said that increasing your fast offerings yields extra blessings was right. You simply can’t outdo God. There are windows He’s opened that I would never think to pray for. This project did not require as much fasting as it did hard work, but the hand of the Lord was evident throughout in placing all the right people in my path – seemingly random encounters that resulted in great stories etc. There is something for everyone to identify with which gives the book a broad reach.

What did you study at BYU? Marketing Communications with a Business minor. I was interested in too many things but I had to pick one.

What was the ‘dream job’? It wasn’t a dream job; rather, a more flexible, less stressful environment. It only required me to go to the office three days a week which allowed for more travel. When your friends, dates, and family are scattered all over the world, you need the time to get to them. The dream job would entail location independence.

Have your parents joined you in New York? How about your brother? No, they would never leave Croatia but they were able to visit once all together. Normally, I go there once or twice a year.

What is your next project? Now we need to “flood the earth” with these testimonies and concurrently start a few other projects. One will focus on powerful missionary experiences. Perhaps one featuring faith-promoting stories from ancestors that are passed down in the families and could include people of all denominations. There may also be one on celestial marriages. All global of course.

Tell me about being a general conference translator? It’s a great privilege to serve in that capacity. The talks are translated in advance so we read along and watch for any changes. You hear yourself in one ear and the speaker in the other. With the recent change, you can also pick the native-language channel or the English translation. The first such speaker I got was named Carlos. I figured my Spanish was good enough to follow him directly as I wanted to minimize lag time. Then he started speaking Portuguese. Translated text still made it possible to follow him but I sure wasn’t going to attempt Mandarin Chinese. I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting several apostles as they came to visit and participate in our devotionals. It says a lot about how much they care for the gospel message to reach all corners of the earth, being there with us an hour before conference starts.

Is there anything else you would like to share? When I sent out the help questions for the stories, I wanted the readers to get to know these individuals but there was a special focus on the conversion process – those moments of feeling and recognizing the Spirit for maybe the first time, the verses of scripture that had the greatest impact, how they recognized truth, trials they went through – and that is what makes the stories so powerful. These people are pioneers who established the Church in their countries, translated the scriptures or became Area Seventies. They are traditional families, singles, single parents, children joining without parents, parents of inactive children, “golden” converts, former addicts, the rich, the famous, the poor and everything in between. There is not one story in A Global Testimony that won’t resonate with someone. I feel so grateful to have had the privilege of compiling this much spiritual power into one book.

‘ A Global Testimony: 60 Different countries One powerful message’.

Age Range: teen to 80+

Testimonies from: Europe Asia Americas Africa Oceania

* Visit the website 

Order online, one or more copies

* Purchase this book from Amazon

* Purchase this book through Kindle    includes Look Inside option

* Like the  Facebook Page

David Archuleta endorses ‘A Global Testimony’

Read Katarina’s own story here

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A relevant question

During Elder Bednar’s BYU Education Week Devotional he gave examples of how the church, as well as some members were already reaching out on-line.

He quoted the title of an article my friend Terri had written…along with 16 other women we are part of the Mormon Women Stand Admin team.You can find MWS on Facebook also.

It’s a very relevant question.

Terrie is one busy lady, as an editor for MWS and LDS.blogs etc.  She’s has a family, including a cat to take care of and beautiful grandchildren. Terrie adores being a Primary teacher, and loves books. She is also delighted by miracles. She is a true wordsmith. Check out the meme Deseret Book made of Terrie’s very poignant question. Then visit Bonnie Oscarson’s Pinterest account and decide how you would answer the question Terrie poses in the article.


Posted in Agency, BYU Education Week, Church News, Inspirational, Learn more, Social Media, Special Events | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment


What is #sharegoodness?

Watch, read or download this inspirational presentation 

Ed week devotional

OK…but how do you get started…?

Grab a pen and notepad, or open a Note taking App and read these suggestions…

jot down ideas that come into your mind….

Get excited, get going….

but remember these tips for sharing on social media…

1) Use your own genuine voice and pictures.

2) Be positive as you share the goodness from your own life.

3) Respect the rights of others.

4) Remember social media posts are forever.

Also remember the words of the Apostolic Blessing…did you hear them?

When you have created your social media presence leave me your URL or Twitter @ in a comment and I will come visit….


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Mothers Day: the last gift

I’d flown in for her second last Christmas. Mum had told her friends she wanted Christmas Day just with me and they had helped her arrange things so it could be that way. I was deeply moved. I arrived prepared for a long hot day but the weather played its tricks and it was to be a cold gusty wet day. Regardless, it was a special day. 

I flew home a few days later, before New Year’s Eve.
A month later on a strong prompting I flew back.
That was to be the end.

Let me tell you about the beginning.
Mum and I had had a difficult life together. She wanted to keep me safe, while I fought her control.
I wanted to be free to roam to do, she held the secrets that breed her fears.
We battled through the decades. Always a loving truce when I was sick.

After my father died I was living clear across the country. I rang to see how she was and heard myself saying “would you like me to come and live with you, for a few weeks?”

On the flight East I found myself pondering what might happen if I treated my mother like I treated all the older ladies in Relief Society?

After the flight I caught the bus to the city then the train for a hour ride south. I was quite tired.

Mum met me at the station and I greeted her with a cautious weary hug.
From that moment I thought first of her and her needs. That was the Thursday. I rested Friday but made her breakfast, lunch and we went out for dinner.
Saturday I drove her into the local Village as she called it. I carried her shopping. Helped with all I could. I did the washing, hung it out, bought it in, folded it according to her instructions. I dusted, and piled the newspapers neatly. I put her feet up while we discussed what we would be doing on  ‘Mothers Day’.
We planned a relaxed day with a special lunch of her favourite foods. I planned and organised myself for her to have breakfast in bed.

Mid morning of Mothers Day I was in the kitchen and my mother walked in. She came close and put her arms around me. Shorter than me, she rested her head in my shoulder. I thought she was never letting go. Figuratively speaking she never did.

She then produced a package. A surprise from my daughter.
In the parcel was a cross stitch panel for me. This would eventually become a cute cushion. There was also a small complete and filled cushion for my mother. 
She hugged it tight as her crinkled eyes glistened with tears. I was surprised. But said nothing.

Settled at an outdoor table we rang my daughter. I listened to my mother say she couldn’t love the gift more if it was a diamond ring.  OK,  now I was amazed.
Over the next days and weeks there was much more to be amazed about.
It seems that when I changed, as per my thoughts on the plane, mum changed too.

For 5 years we basked in that special relationship. In true mother daughter closeness. I flew up and down amassing quite the collection of frequent flyer points. I rang 3 times a day when at home. We talked through everything. Agreeing to lay no blame, we found what had caused the problem. After she shared the secrets which pertained to my childhood and now life-long health issues, we discovered we had been wrenched apart by a hospital system that excluded parents. Mothers were kept from being anywhere near their sick babies, toddlers and children. Apparently I could see her, but she could not come to me. 

Five years later: The last five weeks.
With an unspoken agreement that this was the last visit we proceeded to do all the last things mum wanted to do. She was now permanently attached to an oxygen machine which I named Darth Vader. (Honestly it sounded just like the movie character. When my son had visited he asked me if the machine affected my breathing. Both of us found we breathed along with the rasping in-out pattern of the machine. A strangely funny circumstance.)
A day out then a day home. On the day home while she physically rested mum would teach me what-so-ever she thought I might need in the future. ‘Get your note book’ she would call before quickly replacing her mask. I wrote down recipes and instructions. Some things I wondered at but I wrote diligently.

When she napped I would get online and catch up with friends, especially in a writers group. Later when she woke I would read the messages to her from these women she had never met.  They were most supportive of us through this time.

We did the last shopping trip. The next time supermarket supplies were needed I went alone. I had a thorough list with preferred brands and instructions. As the apartment door clicked closed behind me and I started to walk towards the lift, I suddenly thought ‘what if she dies while I’m out?’
I turned back and let myself back in.  She looked up from her newspaper. I went to her side and kissed her cheek. ‘I love you’ I said. Squeezed her hand and set off again.

We did the last haircut. Went out for the last lunch with her girlfriends – women she had known for years, from work from her political life and painting class. We had figured out the portable gas cylinder and a little trolley to pull it on. As she struggled for breath I distracted the friends with cheery news of what we had been up to.

Easter Friday was her final day at home. She was noticeably slow in getting going. Mid morning she asked me to assist her to have a shower. But first she directed me to which clothes she would wear. Aqua pants and a matching t-shirt. And crisp white shirt open over the top. The coordinated earrings and soft white sox since we would be at home.
I got the shower running then left her to it – call me if you need, I said as I went to the kitchen.

Fairly soon she did indeed call. Wrapped in a towel she sat breathless on the shower stool. I gently dried her off. She was trying to speak but struggling for air. Quickly I grabbed the mask attached to Darth Vader and she breathed easier. I waited.

‘Dry between my toes’ she whispered. Hmm, I thought….now feet are not my favourite things. What to do?
Then in my mind a quiet voice. A voice of love. ‘Jesus washed the feet…It was good enough for Him’
I knelt beside my small frail fragile mother and gently dried between her toes.

That night she went in an ambulance to hospital. I knew she would not come back. She requested no visitors. No-one was to come. Not even me. Dad had chosen to die alone and she wanted it that way too.

However at her request I did visit on Saturday afternoon. She was in a Palliative Care Unit. It was a few weeks before I understood why she had asked the nurse to ring me to come in.

She looked even smaller and even more fragile. Her bed was set at angle allowing her to see through the French doors out to a small pretty courtyard. I realise as I write that, that  she would have requested the bed to be moved. I’m smiling. I held her hand and whispered to her. Her large brown eyes looked anxious. Talking was so hard now. Too hard. I indicated the doors. Leaning in close I said Mum, remember what I told you? It will be like walking through those doors. The need to breathe, the pain, the struggle will drop away as you step through them. She squeezed my hand. Her eyes sparkled.
On the other side of the door, I continued, will be dad, your parents, and other people you love. They will embrace you. You will not look back. I will be ok. You’ve taught me well. I love you.

Somehow my mother reached her tiny frail arms up around me as she gently hugged me. For the last time. Here on earth.
By 2:00AM Sunday she had stepped through those beautiful doors.

I later realised that my mother had requested me to visit her so that I could leave her, rather than her leaving me. This had been a tender issue since my baby-days in hospital. This is what we had figured out.
She has never left me. I feel her close. I feel her influence. I hear her voice. I read her guidance. 

Happy Mothers Day mum, I look forward to our next embrace.

Posted in Families, Inspirational, Motherhood, Mothers | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Feasting upon the word

It’s April so it’s General Conference time. (Now recognised as #GenConf  on Twitter etc) Twice a year, each year the worldwide members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gather together, where ever they are. This might be in the Conference Centre in Salt Lake, or near by Stake Centres. It might be at home in front of the television. These days across the world we often tune in on the internet, of course this depends on your time zone and sleeping patterns.

The 5 sessions over the 1st weekend in April are re-broadcast about a week later to nations around the world.  That is the morning and afternoon 2 hours general sessions of both Saturday and Sunday. The men/boys gather for a Saturday evening session. This is the Priesthood session which is now relayed live also.

No-matter where you view Conference viewing it is a must for Mormons (that’s what people call us, but we’ve covered that, right? The main thing to remember is that we are Christian, we worship Jesus Christ)

If you are not a member of the church we extend an invitation to attend or view on line via the main church website. And feel free to take a look around while you are there.

What ought we do to prepare to get the most out of attending General Conference? I am glad you asked…you know why we are there, right? The meme below is a good clue….scroll on down for the best advice I have ever read about how to get the most from this bi-annual spiritual feast.

In case you are are a visitor of another faith, you need to know the men below are what we call the First Presidency of the Church. President Thomas S Monson is at the front, he is the Church President. Henry B Eyring is the man with the glasses is the 1st Counsellor and behind his is Dieter F Urchtdorf is the 2nd.  I refer to him further down the page.

In 2011 President Urchtdorf taught us some great things. Steps that will not go out of date. Steps that will always work. Subject to your preparation that is.

Speaking in General Conference he said

‘As you prepare for general conference, I invite you to ponder questions you need to have answered. For example, you might yearn for direction and guidance by the Lord regarding challenges you are facing.

Answers to your specific prayers may come directly from a particular talk or from a specific phrase. At other times answers may come in a seemingly unrelated word, phrase, or song. A heart filled with gratitude for the blessings of life and an earnest desire to hear and follow the words of counsel will prepare the way for personal revelation.’

I’d like to say here and now that I have tested this out. I have sorted out what was most pressing, what I really need direction about, I narrowed it down to one question. I received answers. Clear and distinct. Personal to me.

You can be sitting next to me and hear the same words and not receive the message or enlightenment that I receive. That’s because personal revelation is just that…it’s personal.

2. Don’t discount a message merely because it sounds familiar.

3. The words spoken at general conference should be a compass that points the way for us during the coming months.

In closing President Urchtdorf reminds us….

‘What a marvelous privilege it is to hear God’s messages for each of us during general conference! Let us prepare well for this great blessing of divine guidance delivered by His chosen servants.

For this is no ordinary blessing’.

Read the complete article

Remembering that in 6 months there will be another General Conference.

LDSMediaTalk suggests some other elements re your preparation. How to help children, things to read etc.

*On a side note because General Conference happens year in year out it can be a good reminder about other things. In April change your smoke detector battery and in October eat your 72 Emergency Pack (you have one, don’t you?) goodies and replace them. That’s the important thing, the replacing.

Enjoy Conference.


Posted in General Conference, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf., Special Events, Wisdom | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

a worldwide gathering of women

When the announcement came that there was to be a combined women’s meeting that would reach out and embrace not only Young Women but girls from baptism age up, not everyone was happy.  Personally I was fine with it. I wondered what form it might take. I looked forward to it.


Saturday 29th March, 6:00pm  MDT – that is Utah Summer time – at the Conference Centre in Salt Lake City women gathered for this historical meeting.

Here in Australia, I was unwell and therefore unable to attend my regular Sunday meetings. I opened and watched the meeting live. I watched ‘with’ my cousin who lives in Utah. Her comments when spotting a neighbour, a friend, someone from work, how the choir was formed etc added to my experience.  It was quite remarkable. Love technology.

An abundance of the spirit and of LOVE. Inspiring. Tender.

The opening prayer surprised and delighted me. I know someone that age. …no spoilers here…through the heavenly music and the well-considered video presentations I hardly moved. The speakers captured my attention, inspired my mind and reached to my heart.

I confess my eyes filled with tears at the special invitation to the Primary girls. Sister Wixom involved them in an unexpected yet delightful way. I had a lump in my throat as I watched the mothers next to their daughters.

The 3 General Presidents spoke, followed by President Henry B Eyring of the First Presidency.

Up first was the Primary president…

The Young Women President reminded us…

The General Relief Society President addressed the worldwide audience

President Henry B Eyring taught us

This meeting will be broadcast in Australia over the weekend on 5/6 April. Check your Stake Calendars for details. Plan to be there. Yes you could watch it at home, and that is better than missing it, however I sense that the experience of gathering together will be a remarkable one. One worth any effort. One worth journalling.

Read about the experiences of other sisters. 

and lastly for now, I would like to invite you to come over to Facebook and

Like  Mormon Women Stand

unite with some 10,300+ women. Launched on 11th March this group is growing rapidly. You will find great discussions and articles that support you as you take a Stand.

Posted in Meetings, Relief Society, Special Events, Womens meeting | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment