The Reflecting Octopus

Did you know that octopuses can change their color to match their environment? How they change is most interesting. The outer layer of their skin is made up of millions of small pigment sacs called chromatophores. Nerves within his eyes sense the brightness of the light and contract or expand these sacs. When expanded they give the octopus a dark brown color. When contracted the underlying reflective leucophores are exposed reflecting whatever color of light is most abundant. If the octopus is swimming in an algae-covered pool it will reflect the green color. The octopus’s ability to change color is really nothing more than a side effect of an ability to detect changes in light which adjust its skin to become more or less reflective.

We have the same opportunity to reflect more or less of the influences around us. What are you reflecting away from you? What are you not reflecting enough?

Reflection is to pause

As I have been preparing for my advanced constellation class I came across this statement in the Lecture’s on Faith, lecture seven.

It surely will not be required of us to prove that [faith] is the principle upon which all eternity has acted and will act; for every reflecting mind must know that it is by reason of this power that all the hosts of heaven perform their works of wonder, majesty, and glory.

“Every reflecting mind” stood out to me. What is a reflecting mind? John Maxwell, who speaks on leadership defined reflection as, “Reflection turns experience into insight.” and “Reflection is the pause that gives a person perspective.”

I want to be insightful and gain perspective. So “how” do I reflect?

This thought took me on a journey in my mind. The first thought was the word “ponder.” How often do I ponder on what I study or learn or the people I’ve met. If God orchestrates our lives and the people we meet are no accident then why not ponder and reflect on those experiences to gain insight and possibly even direction or the “next step?” And, of course, this thought lead me to a commitment – to reflect every day before I went to bed. But that commitment fell short because I kept falling asleep so now I reflect every morning.

I have chosen to use the formula Kevin Hall uses in his book, “Aspire.” I reflect on 4 things:

  1. People who help me
  2. Actions I’ve taken on opportunities
  3. Thoughts that help me create meaning or understanding
  4. Happiness moments – random acts of kindness, God’ tender mercies

All of which help me stay on PATH! 🙂

How do you Reflect and Ponder?

Columbus Day, celebrate or not?

Monument to Christopher Columbus (by Odoardo Tabacchi, 1892), Santa Margherita Ligure, Liguria, Italy

This week, on the 12th, we celebrate the 575th year of Columbus discovering America. There is much buzz and degrading of his character. So much so that Columbus day is hardly even looked at or noticed any more. Some States have decided to change it to “Indigenous People” day. This subject has given me much to ponder on.

My 6th-grade teacher taught me that Columbus wasn’t a great man and that he really wasn’t the one who discovered America. I trusted her and therefore believed her. It wasn’t until I was in a book club where we read the book “Christopher Columbus, an LDS Perspective” that I changed my belief.

In this book, they show how he was led at a specific time, how God was ready to have others join this “hidden land.” How Christopher followed the spirit and had the “prince of American” Angle Moroni help him. My favorite story was when he had forgotten his purpose and had fallen. He finds himself alone on the ship one day and calls upon the Lord for forgiveness, receives a special spiritual experience. Ends up being rescued and returns home to spend the rest of his life writing the “Book of Prophesy.”

How do you celebrate Columbus Day? What are your traditions?

Here are some quotations from these two books. I’ll let you decide whether or not he was called of God and if we should not remember him each year.

The Eternal God our Lord gives to all those who walk in his path victory over things that seem impossible. ~ Christopher Columbus, Book of Prophesy

“At this time I have seen and put in study to look into all the Scriptures…which our Lord opened to my understanding (I could sense his hand upon me), so that it became clear to me that it was feasible to navigate from here to the Indies and he gave me the will to execute the idea… No one should be afraid to take on any enterprise in the name of our Savior, if it is right and if the purpose is purely for his holy service… The working out of all things was entrusted by our Lord to each person…in conformity with his sovereign will…” ~ Columbus. Book of Prophecies. Fols. 4,5 rvs.,6.

“The temple work for the fifty-six signers of the Declaration of Independence and other founding fathers has been done.  All these appeared to Wilford Woodruff when he was President of the St. George Temple.  President George Washington was ordained a High Priest at that time.  You will also be interested to know that according to Wilford Woodruff’s journal, John Wesley, Benjamin Franklin, and Christopher Columbus were also ordained High Priests at the time.  When one casts doubt upon the character of these noble sons of God, I believe he or she will have to answer to the God of heaven for it.” Ezra Taft Benson (Christopher Columbus, an LDS Perspective, pg. 72)

Rejoice Over Your Flaws!

A distressed man came to a trusted friend and said,

Stairs of a tight mountain path

“I felt confident in my journey last year, but this year I’ve noticed my flaws and imperfections in my daily life and fear I’ll not be successful in my journey.”

His friend smiled and said, “Rejoice!”

Startled, he questioned his friend as to why he was happy about his confession.

In 1 Nephi 8 we learn about the “strait and narrow” path. The word “strait” means “narrow” or “restricted” so you could say that is a “narrow and narrow” path or “narrow and narrowing” path. As we receive more from the Holy Ghost the path gets narrower and narrower.

This is great news! As we begin to notice flaws that were unnoticed before is evidence that we are now closer to the Spirit than before. As we draw closer and closer to God the “light” shines much brighter on the path and we notice smaller and smaller things. This is a “sign” that you are doing better!

Once the man understood this he took a deep breath of relief and smiled. He thanked his friend and continued on his journey rejoicing. Knowledge is power! He went on to be very effective in leading others to Christ. (I learned this story from David J. Ridges in “Your Study of the Book of Mormon Made Easier”)

What flaws in your life are you noticing? Rejoice!

Join us today for our Table Talk Discussion #38 where we’ll talk about this story and share other ways to Rejoice.

Happy Falliday!

What do you do to celebrate Fall, the change of seasons?

My family and I celebrated by filling small vials with water and sitting around the table with different colors of food coloring. We talked about change and our what changes we wanted to make in ourselves this next year. We also talked about our weaknesses and which ones we wanted Christ to change for us. Then we put in one drop of coloring (no more than 3) for every weakness we were giving him to change.

We traveled up the canyon to the river and dumped out our water and watched it disappear symbolic of Christ taking our weaknesses and changing them to strengths. We then filled our vials with the pure, clear water and brought it home. Each of my kids put their on their dresser to view each day as a reminder that Christ can change us into something better, clearer just as he cleared the water.

You are a creator of change with every breath you take. You breath in cool air and warm it and blow it back out. You do that. You make that change with every breath. God created the world and you to be in a constant cycle of change, why not celebrate it?

Time to Apply

Do you “practice” applying with your children? Researcher have found that many public school classrooms spend very little to no time teaching children how to APPLY what they have learned. Nor do they give them time to learn the skill, they quickly move on to the next topic in order to “get it all in.” Homeschoolers are better at allowing children to APPLY their learning.

There are two types of application or ways to transfer your knowledge to an actual skill. Many scholars call this “transfer.”

The first type is “near” transfer which is focused on learning in one area are more easily applied to similar situation. For example learning to drive a car can be applied to learning to drive a truck. Or learning to write an essay can help you write for a newspaper.

The second type is far application (transfer). This is when use our judgement in applying skills and knowledge we have from one context to a substantially different one. For example applying the skill you learned in playing chess to running for a political office or being a CEO. Or watching steam come out of a pot and relate it to a steam engine.

Understanding these two types of application can help you teach your children learn to apply what they learn to real life situations. Plus, it helps them develop their brain to be able to apply the knowledge God gives them to improve their life and their joy.

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