March 29, 2014

**Let’s Swim** with Coach Kristen
It’s that time of year: The Sun is hot and the Water is cool. Time for SWIM LESSONS! My favorite time of year.

**25 years experience**

SESSIONS:
1. May 19-29
2. June 2-12
3. June 16-26

 TIMES:
May: 11:30 on… I will also have time available for AFTER school kids.
June: 10:00am… as long as needed
I strongly believe lessons need to be often and consistent so I teach M-T-W-Th.
30 min lessons
4 swimmers per class

 COST:
$80.00/Session = 8 lessons

Contact me ASAP. Let’s Swim.

Thanks! Coach Kristen     READY… SET… SWIM…


January 15, 2014

I've Got a Home on the Other Side

My daughter sang with the BYU University Chorale last semester. At their Christmas Performance they sang “Hold Me, Rock Me” by Brian Tate. It is a beautiful song. As I listened to the words I was deeply touched for two reasons. One, my thoughts went to the Israelites as they camped on the Plains of Moab preparing to cross the Jordan River into the Promised Land. 
They have been wandering, homeless, for forty years and now their Promised Land, their Promised Home, is on the other side of the river. Imagine how they must have felt as they prepared to finally enter that longed for, hoped for, dreamed of, anticipated Promised Land! Surely they were counting on their God, the God of Israel, to deliver them once again. Secondly, I was moved as I considered my own life and the journey that we are on here in mortality. We too have ahome on the other side.













“Hold Me, Rock Me”
Hold me, rock me, calm and easy
Hold me, rock me, deep and wide,
Hold me, rock me, in your arms
Oh, I got a home – on the other side

Hold me, rock me, calm and easy
Hold me, rock me, deep and wide
Hold me, rock me, in your arms
Oh, I got a home
Oh, I got a home on the other side

Someday, gonna cross that river
Someday, gonna set out on my own
Don’t know where my journey leads
But I’ll keep on walkin’ till I get me home

My life is a runnin’ river
Flowin’ from the mountains to the distant sea
I’ve walked many hills and valleys
But when I cross the river – I’ll be free

Hold me, rock me, calm and easy
Hold me, rock me, deep and wide  - Lord, hear my cry
Hold me, rock me, calm and easy - Lord, Lord, sooner or later I got a home on…
Oh, I got a home
Oh, I got a home… on the other side
The command to Joshua and the Children of Israel as they prepared to enter Canaan was be strong and of good courage.” As I have studied the Book of Joshua I have found 4 KEYS that help us go forth with strength and courage as we seek our home on the other side.”

1.  I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee” (Joshua 1:5) The Lord is there to guide and protect us. He will never break His promises to do so. Remember, if we have lost power in the Lord it is because we have moved away from Him - hence the powerful story of Achan. (Chapter 7)

2.      do according to the law” (1:7) Obey with exactness. The Children of Israel needed to be warriors like the Stripling Warriors in the Book of Mormon(Alma 53:20-21) as they journeyed to their Promised Land. And so must we if we are to find our “home on the other side."

3.      go and do” (1:16) Be like Nephi! J President Gordon B. Hinckley said “I don’t know how to get anything done except getting on my knees and pleading for help and then getting on my feet and going to work.”(Conference, Oct 1997) What a marvelous formula!

4.      Sanctify yourselves” (3:5) We must be worthy to have the POWER of God with us. Go to this link for a touching Mormon Message from Elder Holland about the importance of being sanctified. It is absolutely worth watching! https://www.lds.org/youth/video/sanctify-yourselves?lang=eng


We must remember as we go forward that, often, we must get wet first! As the Priests carried the ark and the covenant across the river they had to step into the water before the miracle came. (Joshua 3:15Because they were faithful and obedient it came! "...and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground.
We too must demonstrate the faith to go forward trusting that the Lord will provide the way. With these KEYS we can progress on our journey with strength and courage and find our “home on the other side.” 

January 01, 2014

Jesus Christ: The Mighty God

I love this time of year as our hearts and minds turn to our savior, Jesus Christ.

The Psalmist sang “Know ye that the Lord he is God… Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.” (Psalms 100:3-4)
As I contemplate giving thanks and praise to the Savior I pondered Who He is and What He has done for me.

My mind first went to the beautiful prophecies of  Isaiah:
            “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulders: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)

And then to Alma in the Book of Mormon
            “And he shall go forth, suffering the pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.” (Alma 7:11)

These two great prophets give us a wonderful description of Who the Savior is and What He does for us.

Using these two scriptures may we consider How the Savior truly fulfills these roles in our lives.

A child is born, a son is given

John 3:16  “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son…”
 How thankful I am that my elder brother, Jesus Christ, the creator of the world, descended from His throne on high.
He came willingly and lovingly into this world. A newborn babe in a manger – the most humble of circumstances for a King, the promised Redeemer, Savior of mankind, Son of God!  And yet, to these humble circumstances He came.
He walked the dusty roads of Palestine, healed the sick, raised the dead, and taught the Gospel.
This newborn babe… this child was born to change the world.

For this I sing praises unto Him.

“Wonderful”

But He was rejected, mocked, and beaten. And He gave His life that we might live!

On the third day after His crucifixion He was resurrected – to break the bands of death that all might live again. Wonderful indeed!
No words in Christendom are more meaningful and significant than the words which the angel spoke that sacred morning in the garden “He is not here, but is risen.”

President Thomas S. Monson said “Our Savior lives again. The most glorious, comforting and reassuring of all events of human history had taken place- victory over death. The pain and agony of Gethsemane and Calvary had been wiped away. The salvation of mankind had been secured.” (General Conference, April 2010)

Perhaps one of my most favorite testimonies of the living Christ is from the Prophet Joseph Smith who declared:
And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!
For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father.” (D&C 76:22-23)

If for no other reason I would sing praises to my Savior for that Wonderful news.

“Counselor”

As a Counselor He pleads our case for mercy thus becoming our advocate with the Father. He is the champion of our cause like no other can be.

On more than one occasion, a devoted mother pleaded with Abraham Lincoln for the life of a son who had committed a serious offense while serving in the Union forces. Often, touched by the mother’s own sacrifice and pleading, Lincoln granted the pardon. Perhaps he thought “Not for your son’s sake, but for your sake I will pardon him.” Likewise, our Heavenly Father must be deeply moved by the incomparable sacrifice and pleading by our Savior on our behalf.
Because I – like those boys in the Union Army - make mistakes and I desperately need His pleading as my Counselor.

Because He is my Counselor on Judgment Day, when my eternal fate hangs in the balance I will be ever grateful that, as Abinadi taught, the Savior stands “betwixt me and justice.”(Mosiah 15:9)  I will beg for mercy as He “makes an intercession for the children of men” (Mosiah 15:9)

He is my Counselor!

“The Mighty God”

He truly is the Mighty God.
Everything in this world bears testimony of Him. Like Alma testified to Korihor “All things denote there is a God, yea even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it… motion & planets…” (Alma 30:44)

We have had the opportunity to visit church historical sites a couple of times as a family. One of my favorite spots is Palmyra.

I had a very moving experience one time while at Palmyra. In the visitor’s center in Palmyra there is a large Christus – like the one at the Salt Lake Temple visitor’s center.
In Salt Lake the Christus is surrounded by the universe – planets and stars swirling around Christ. Which is very appropriate as He is the Mighty God – creator of heaven and earth – the planets and stars and all things in them!

But in Palmyra the Christus is surrounded by a mural of a grove of trees.
It is a beautiful reminder that it was in a grove of trees that He appeared to the young Joseph Smith. As I sat in that Visitor’s Center and looked at the statue and the trees I was overcome with the most amazing Spirit and was reminded that He is not only the Mighty God who created the heavens and earth and all things in them - which He did. Or, He Who has all power and all wisdom - which He does!
But He is a very tender and personal God who appeared in a grove of trees.
And if He can appear in a Grove of Trees in Upstate New York to a young farm boy to answer his prayer… then He also knows me and can answer the prayers of a mother in *@*.

He is the Mighty God! He is also a very tender and personal God.

“Everlasting Father”

King Benjamin teaches us HOW he becomes our Everlasting Father.

King Benjamin said: Because of the covenant ye shall be called the children of Christ.” (Mosiah 5:7)

As we make and keep sacred covenants, at baptism and in the temple, we take His name upon us. We become His covenant Children.

This is one of my favorite doctrines of the Gospel. We are His chosen children. If we are true and faithful all the promises and blessings of the Fathers: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob can and will be ours as we keep and honor those covenants.

“Prince of Peace”

In a world filled with wars, sadness, natural disasters, and turmoil I am so thankful for the Prince of Peace.

I realize everyone has at one time or another, for some reason or another, faced difficult challenges. Be they financial pressures, health issues, troubles with a marriage or child.
We have all had feelings of sorrow and discouragement. But the Lord offers peace!

In yet another powerful and moving message from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland in Conference this past October he addressed this very topic of sorrow and discouragement.  He said “In striving for some peace and understanding in these difficult matters it is crucial to remember that we are living in a fallen world. Of greatest assurance in God’s plan is that a Savior was promised, a Redeemer, [I would add Prince of Peace] who through our faith in Him would lift us triumphantly over those tests and trials.” (Conference, Oct 2013)
One of my favorite scriptures comes from the story of Moses and the Children of Israel. When they arrived at the Red Sea they were faced with a seemingly impossible situation. They had a great sea in front of them, hot dry dessert on each side and Pharaoh’s army approaching behind them!  They began to murmur. I probably would have done the same. But, the great prophet Moses said:
 “Fear not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord.”  

I LOVE that!

Fear not, be still and watch how I will save you!
When faced with difficulties & trials we need not panic but be still and have peace. He truly is the Prince of Peace.

Then we go to the verse from Alma. Alma tells us He will suffer pains and afflictions.

“Pains and Afflictions” 

I love this verse in Alma because as he describes the Savior and lists these wonderful things the Savior will do he never even mentions sins.
Now, I (and we all) will definitely NEED our Savior’s mercy to be forgiven of our sins. But this verse reminds us that He does even more!

The Savior also eases our pains & afflictions.

In our most recent conference President Monson sweetly reminded us
            “From the bed of pain, from the pillow wet with tears, we are lifted heavenward by that divine assurance and precious promise: ‘I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.’   President Monson adds “Such comfort is priceless.” (October 2013)

Several years ago I was going through a very difficult time. Without going into personal detail it was a time that I truly felt pain, discouragement and often wet my pillow with tears. One particular day I needed extra help and so I went to the temple.  Now, please know that every time I attend the temple I feel peace and my Savior’s love. But this time, when I needed Him so desperately, as I stood for a particular part of the ceremony I literally felt His Arms enfold me. It was as if He was right there in person. I felt as if I had opened my eyes I would have seen Him. I have never quite felt those arms the same way since. But on that day, when I needed Him, He eased my pains.
Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I shall give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matt 11:28-30)

How thankful I am for a loving Savior Who eases my pains and afflictions

“Temptations”

Next, the Atonement not only gives us the opportunity to be forgiven for our sins… But it gives us the POWER to overcome those temptations that so easily beset us.

Elder David A. Bednar said: “The enabling and strengthening aspect of the Atonement helps us see and do and to become good in ways that we could never recognize or accomplish with our limited mortal capacity. I testify and witness that the enabling power of the Savior’s Atonement is real.” (General Conference, Oct 2004)

That is absolutely a reason to not only sing but shout praises unto the Lord. Is it enough to just sing or shout praises to the Lord?  No!

The Lord said “There are many who draw near unto me with their lips… but their hearts are far from me.” (2 Nephi 27:25)

This being the Christmas season, if you could give a Gift to the Savior what would you give?
The Savior gives us the best answer. He has actually given us His Christmas Wish List. He said “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15)

Also, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these y brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matt 25:40)

One day the people came to the Savior and asked what the way to Eternal Life was. The Lord told them to love God with all their heart, soul, strength, and mind. He then added AND… “Love thy neighbor.” The people asked “Who is our neighbor?” And Lord gave the beautiful parable of the Good Samaritan. As the man lay at the side of the road robbed, beaten and left for dead many passed him by. But the Samaritan stopped. He bound his wounds and cared for the man. Then the Savior said “Go and do likewise.”   (Luke 10:25, 30-36)
As we faithfully keep the commandments. As we lift each other’s burdens. As we comfort those who stand in need of comfort… and mourn w/those who mourn. As we stand as a witness at all time and in all things and in all places. As we share our testimonies with others… These are the greatest gifs we could give the Savior. This is His Christmas Wish List.

May we, not only during this Holiday Season, but always in our lives recognize and be thankful for His Atoning sacrifice and for the eternal and divine works He does on our behalf. And give a Gift to the Savior through our actions of love and service to others.

I praise Him. Like the angels on that first sacred Christmas night who sang praises: Glory to God in the highest


November 21, 2013

Prince of Egypt

Oh Moses! Prince of Egypt, Humble Shepherd, Worker of Miracles, Deliverer of the Hebrews, Creator of a Nation, Law Giver, Prophet of God, and Foreshadower of the Savior!
It would be difficult to miss the greatness of Moses!

As we study Moses and learn about the sacrifices he made I am truly inspired by his devotion to God. One of my favorite scenes from the animated movie “Prince of Egypt” is when Moses fleas Egypt, he is out in the desert and he begins to pull off his bracelets, head dress, and everything that made him a Prince of Egypt, until he is bare with nothing but his loincloth. It is a powerful scene to me. It is powerful because I believe Moses did have to make a choice. And he chose God. It is good to ask ourselves: what things, habits, lifestyles do we need to “strip” ourselves of that we might separate ourselves from all that is Egypt and give ourselves, our bare selves, to the Lord so that He can make us the person He wants us to be. Hopefully we can find ourselves in the “desert” willing to give up the world and, instead, choose God.

As we face the “Pharaoh’s” in our lives we must remember the wonderful and important lessons we learn from the Hebrews.  When life becomes difficult, and we face challenges we think we cannot bear, go back and read Exodus 1:12 “But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew…”

Elder Robert D. Hales said  “Why such tribulation? To what end? For what purpose? As we ask these questions, we realize that the purpose of our life on earth is to GROW, develop, and be strengthened through our own experiences… Tests and trials are given to all of us… No matter how difficult our circumstances, ‘all these things shall [be for our] experience, and for [our] good.’ Those afflictions will come in all shapes and sizes…” (General Conference, Oct 2011)

Also remember the GREAT lessons we learn from the stories of Moses:
1.     *Jehovah is the only true and living God, far above all power of men or other gods
2.     * He is THE faithful covenant God, who remembers His promises


And He will remember you. 

April 23, 2013

Let's Swim!


Lets Swim!
It’s that time of year: the Sun is hot and the Water is cool.
Time for SWIM LESSONS! My favorite time of year.
** 25 years experience **

SESSIONS:
1. May 20-30
2. June 3-13
3. June 17-27

TIMES:
May: 11:00am on… I will also have time available for after school kids.
June: 10:00am… as long as needed
I strongly believe lessons need to be often and consistent so I teach M-T-W-Th.
30 min lessons
4 swimmers per class

COST:
$75.00/Session = 8 lessons

Contact me ASAP. Let’s Swim!
dksweeney@msn.com

February 28, 2013


Say Cheese!

Have you ever taken a photo of a three year old? You know how it goes: Say cheese! Smile. Wait, look here at the camera. No, look at me. Try again… you get the idea. Making sure everything works just right is like making sure the stars are aligned perfectly.  Get the three year old to look at you, make sure your camera is in focus, make sure the lighting is right, now get the toddler to smile… oh boy. Well, try taking a photo of 5 toddlers!
I had this genius idea (right?) to have the kids take a picture to send to Jaren in Argentina for Christmas. I made a page for each child to hold with a word that, all together, said “We love you Uncle Jaren.” All they had to do is smile and hold their paper. Ha ha . Add a prop and just add more complications to the challenges already listed above = Disaster? No, just hilariousness!!

So, here’s how it went…









Uhhh, Rhead & Halle I need to see your faces. Carden make a HAPPY smile. Emma, I can’t see your sign. Let’s try again…

Oops, Rhead your sign is upside down. Halle why are you sad now? Try again…

Okay, wait, Carden open your eyes. Rhead I can’t see you. Brooke what ARE you doing? Emma, turn your sign up and look at Nana

Oh my goodness! So close! That’s good kids. Everyone’s page is actually the right way. Now, just look at Nana and smile nice. Make a happy smile. I know we’ve done it 100 times, but just one more time with a big smile and we’ll be done. I have skittles for you if you smile!!

Okay, I guess this is the best we get. Ha ha. Not sure which is best. We were cracking up! Say Cheese!!

But the WINNER of making me giggle when trying to get a picture is Halle. I have several sequences of photos with her before we get it right. I love them all! But, this is my favorite, at the BYU basketball game with Papi… J



February 27, 2013


Don’t Worry Be Happy!
“Don’t worry be happy.” Those are the words to Bobby Mcferrin’s popular song from 1988, encouraging us to be happy.
Benjamin Franklin is believed to have said, “The Constitution only guarantees the American people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.”  Since the beginning of time man has yearned for, looked for, hoped for happiness.

So what is happiness? We may each find happiness in as many varied and different ways as we, as individuals, are varied and different. However, research shows that no matter who we are- whether we live on an Asian Island, in the Louisiana Bayou, or the African desert-all humans find happiness and joy, by sharing life with loved ones.

And so, this weekend, I experienced true joy with the birth of another grandchild. The scriptures tell us “man are that they might have joy.” (2 Nephi  2:25) I love that! Life is difficult. We all have struggles, trials and hardships. Sometimes, there may seem to be no shortage of problems. And yet, we are meant to be happy! Our Creator, or God, our Heavenly Father wants us to be happy. 

This past week I watched my daughter suffer the pains of contractions, sweat through the agony of labor, and rejoice in the giving of life! What joy!

Giving birth is the perfect symbolism for life; that only through the most difficult, even sometimes the going to the very edge of death itself, we are rewarded with the most precious, beautiful gift of love and life and joy. An angel straight from heaven!

That act of complete unselfishness of the mother and the absolutely, amazing instinctiveness of the newborn babe, still slippery and slimy, turning his little head to find his mother’s breast: Giving  - Loving - Life - JOY!

Watching my daughter successfully and courageously give birth to her son - JOY!

Cradling that sweet, innocent, pure baby boy in my arms - JOY!

Day by day, minute by minute, second by second we can choose to be happy. We choose to find joy! Jeffrey R. Holland once said “If you’re missing the joy, you’re missing the point.” Cherish those moments. Find joy! Don’t worry – be happy!