Sunday, January 29, 2012

Seek Ye Learning

September 2011 was a month that I will never forget. It was a month that changed my life and will have a tremendous impact on my future. The month began with me having an overwhelming sadness of missing you kids who were out on your own and realizing that Holly and Hannah would soon be leaving home too. With the thoughts of my "full-time" mothering coming to an end, I began a process of praying and pondering as to what the Lord wanted me to do in the coming years to be of value and service to him.

I remember being deep in thought while driving to the temple one September morning, when a very specific prompting came into my mind. It was greatly impressed upon me the need to complete my BYU degree online. To be honest, I really had never entertained those thoughts before, nor had I even an inkling of a desire to do so. Because the thought was so deliberate and clear, I could not dismiss it. I sought confirmation while in the temple and received it.

That wasn't the only revelatory experience I had that month, there were others that were very significant and sacred (which I will share when it is appropriate to do so). I learned so much during those weeks. I learned that desiring leads to pondering, pondering leads to prayer, prayer leads to seeking further light and knowledge, which led me to the temple. And all of those things provided a humble and believing heart that could receive the whispering's of the Spirit, even revelation. I learned that I was worthy to have the Lord give me personal direction and that I was of value to Him.

Now back to my BYU online experience. Can I just tell you that I feel like someone has breathed new life into what I felt was a dormant mind. Although it was rough going the first 2 weeks, I have experienced great joy this past week in studying and thinking. I have felt a greater confidence in my ability to learn and know that the Lord is very pleased with what I am doing. I still do not know exactly why I am doing it, but that is okay. If the why is just to know that I am capable of learning, growing, and acting on revelation, then that is enough for me. I AM SO GRATEFUL FOR THIS OPPORTUNITY!!

I write....that my children may know that I know learning and gaining knowledge is highly favored of the Lord. I also write.....that my children may know I am proud that they have an understanding of this truth as well. Thank you for your great examples!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Learning From The Anti-Nephi-Lehies

In preparation for a lesson on "Bearing One Another's Burdens", one night after family scriptures, I asked for examples of individuals or groups of people who have bore the burdens of another. Many good references were sited, but one captured my full attention. Emily (Daniel's girlfriend who was visiting at the time) reminded us of the Sons of Helaman who basically made a covenant to take up arms so that their parents could honor the covenant they had made to lay down their arms. I loved that relationship of making and keeping covenants to bearing another's burdens.

This morning in my personal scripture study, I was reading Alma 24 and gained further insight of what makes and keeps a covenant people. You know how I love patterns in the scriptures... well there is a significant one found in these verses and I likened it to our family. And yes children.......I am going to share my findings with you so go get your Book of Mormon and follow along!

vs.7-10 "I thank my God..." Each of these verses begin with those words. A Covenant Family Freely Expresses Gratitude.

vs.9-12 A Covenant Family Understands and Utilizes the Principle of Repentance. Verse 9, the people acknowledge their sins. Verse 10-11, they acknowledge their sins to God and seek forgiveness "...through the merits of his Son". Verse 12 They receive a remission of their sins and pledge to "...stain [their] swords no more".

vs.13-14. A Covenant Family Understands & Utilizes The Cleansing Power of the Atonement. Within these two verses we learn of the power of "...the blood of the Son"; the nature of God "...God has had mercy on us...that we night not perish", and the plan of salvation (see vers 14). On a personal note, I would love for you study verse 14 and enlighten me as to what it means to you?

vs.15-16 A Covenant Family Seeks to Be Purified. Regardless of what trials and temptations come our way, we continue to repent and keep our weapons buried "...deep in the earth, that[we]may be kept bright".

vs.17-19 A Covenant Family Renews Their Covenants Consistently. I love how the Anti-Nephi-Lehies renewed the covenant they had made. Verse 18 (1)."...They would give up their own lives...(2)they would give unto [a brother]...(3)rather than spend their days in idleness they would labor abundantly with their hands". A covenant family values the ordinance of the sacrament, drawing close to 'Him who saves', every single week. We return OFTEN to the temple and bless others as we assist in helping them make sacred covenants. I love that as members of the Jared Rust family, we are all of an age where we can be holders of a temple recommend. Please always be worthy of holding that recommend. And don't just hold it......USE IT!!! It is how we "labor abundantly" and honor our covenants .

vs.20-26 A Covenant Family Trusts in the Lord. I don't think there is a more beautiful display of trusting in the Lord than what is written in these verses. It is doubtful we will be required to lay down our life because of covenants we have made with the Lord, but we are required to trust Him and LIVE. He asks his covenanted people to serve in callings, raise children in the Christ-centered homes, build celestial relationships and truly cherish and serve each other.

That is all I have. I hope you have enjoyed this little scripture study time. I know I have. I would love to have your thoughts and teachings as well. So feel free to share.

I write....that my children may know the privilege and joy of belonging to a covenant family.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Departing Words.

I attended the funeral of a fire-fighter last Saturday. It was dignified and very impressive. It started with a processional ceremony of fifty plus fire-fighters walking from the Overton fire station to the chapel. Two huge fire trucks with ladders fully extended formed an arch in the sky while the fire gear and uniform of the deceased laid on top of the fire truck that he had operated. Uniformed firefighters stood at attention beside the casket at the viewing. Honor guards posted the colors in a touching ceremony to begin the funeral services. To end the services, six uniformed firefighters ceremonially folded the American flag that had been draped over the casket and presented it to the widow. There was the "Final Salute" as the pall bearers placed the casket into the vehicle. And then finally at the graveside the firefighters participated in one last ceremony: "The Final Alarm: The Ringing of The Bell" while the bag pipes mournfully played in the background.

Needless to say, it was an emotional day. I was grateful to have witnessed this brotherhood of honor,love and devotion in action.

I have spent a lot of time reflecting on that brotherhood and the tribute they paid. It was impressive and it was deserved. He was a devoted fireman and I was grateful for the comfort it surely had to be for his wife and children.

I have since spent a lot of time reflecting on what kind of funeral would be fitting of your dad. He would not be honored with uniforms, ceremonies, and emotional displays. He isn't a firefighter,a military veteran,or an officer of the law. But he is a good husband, a loving father, and a righteous bearer of the priesthood. The greatest tribute that could be paid to your dad and me for that fact, is to have each of our eight children live in such a way as to be able to stand and bear powerful, heart-felt testimony that you believe in Jesus Christ; that you follow a living prophet and strive to live the teachings of the gospel.

No fanfare needed, just children who live the gospel and love the Lord.
I write...that my children may keep this in mind for when the time comes.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Hannah...Beebz...The Caboose

Fourteen years ago Jared and I and seven anxious siblings welcomed our baby Beebz into the world. And welcomed was she! I don't think a little girl could ever have been more loved than Hannah. With the birth of Hannah, our family was finally complete and even. Four boys first and Hannah was the fourth girl.

Hannah was different than your normal Rust baby. She was born with lots of brown curls (the others were bald), beautiful olive skin (the others were white), and lots of chubs (the others were relatively skinny), and she strongly resembled her daddy (the others resembled each other). That little brown haired, brown eyed, brown skinned girl wiggled her way into each of our hearts in a very big way.

Being the last person in a ten member family is a huge responsibility but Hannah does it well. She puts up with being referred to as "the baby", taking orders from nine others; never being able to ride shotgun, and merciless teasing of much older brothers. But aside from all this, she has developed a quick sense of humor and a pleasant, but quirky personality.

Let me tell you about that personality.

Hannah is a deep-thinker. She is a watcher of people and a surveyor of situations. When she was little, I chalked up her silence to being shy and reserved (which she was to some degree). As she got older, I began to believe that it wasn't so much shyness that kept her silent, but that she was simply thinking, taking everything in and then would offer her opinion, advise, words of wisdom, etc., if she deemed it necessary and desired. She doesn't say much but when she does, it is of value and well thought out and should be paid attention to.

Hannah is a natural-born leader. I love watching her interact with her friends. She is just fine to take a back seat and "let them be the boss" but when there is a problem her friends automatically turn to her for direction and leadership. AND SHE IS AN AMAZING LEADER! Hannah instinctively commands respect of her peers by the way she handles herself; never trying to be the center of attention, but rather the voice of reason. She has innate skills of organizing, public speaking, managing of time, inclusive involvement of others, and well thought out solutions. I can not say enough of what type of leader Hannah has become and how she continues to develop those god-given talents and traits.

Hannah is a goal-setter and a goal-achiever. She isn't showy in what she has obtained and what she seeks to obtain, she is just constant in her pursuit. She has set academic goals early on in her life so that her college career is all that she has envisioned and planned for it to be. She has set domestic goals early on in her life to help her become the mother she hopes to be. She doesn't easily get discouraged, but when she does, she seeks positive solutions and picks herself up and gets back on track.

Hannah is kind. I have never had one single person tell me that Hannah has ever been unkind, said something mean or inappropriate, or acted in a way that is unbecoming of a righteous daughter of God. On the other hand, I have received many compliments on how kind, helpful, polite, and mature she is. It seems that every school year I have a teacher tell me how grateful they are for the help she is to other students who struggle in class. Whether she has been asked by the teacher or by the students themselves, Hannah patiently and respectfully helps them LEARN.

Hannah is valiant and pure. I emphasis "learn" because Hannah is so careful to never give answers or let the kids abuse her kindness and knowledge. She lets them know that she can help them by teaching, never by cheating. The thoughts of cheating are repulsive to her. She certainly wouldn't ever cheat herself, but her valiant nature makes sure that no one can cheat off her. Her valiant nature causes her to cringe at words that are crass and offensive. I am not necessarily talking about just cuss words, but any word that is demeaning or crude. Her spirit is easily offended and I love that in her. Purity flows through Hannah and it shows in her face, words and actions.

Hannah is comforting. Every night I can count on Hannah to seek me out, put her arms around me and just hold me for a few minutes in a sweet, deliberate embrace. It is not a limp hug or an obligatory goodnight routine; it is a heartfelt display of her love and gratitude towards me. Two nights ago, I came home from doing Relief Society service all day long. I was exhausted, emotionally drained, and it seemed every joint and muscle were throbbing in pain. I felt like I would burst into tears at any moment from sheer fatigue. My eyes must have been shut because I don't remember seeing Hannah stand in front of me but suddenly I was very aware of sweet loving arms that had encircled me and Hannah had gently placed my head on her chest holding it near her heart. It was one of the sweetest gestures of Christ-like love that I have ever experienced. She was silent, and I was comforted. For a few moments our roles were switched. She was the mother making everything right and I was the child who just needed to be held.

How I love my Hannah. Words can not express my gratitude to Heavenly Father for sending her to me. Happy Birthday sweet daughter. I Love you. Mommy

Sunday, January 22, 2012


For years I have walked most weekday mornings with my best friend Judy. These outings are about so much more than the exercise. A couple of weeks ago, early one crisp morning we found ourselves on top of an amazing mesa with a panoramic view of our sleepy little valley. It had been hard climbing, but so worth the effort.
As we walked on top of the mesa, Judy shared with me an sweet experience she had witnessed between her son-in-law Jay, and his 4 year old daughter Brianna. Here is my recollection of our conversation. Brianna was obviously very upset with her sisters so much that she was throwing an all out fit. Jay calmly walked up to Brianna, knelt down to where he was eye level with her and put his hands on her shoulders. Gently he said: "I know you are angry Brianna, I know you are upset. But you are letting your body rule over your spirit. You need to get control of your body and figure out a better way to express your anger and frustration. You need to let your spirit rule over your body." When Brianna had stopped her screaming and crying, Jay said: "OK, let's figure out a better way so that your spirit is in control".

Those words: "Let's figure out a better way so that your spirit is in control" have more or less consumed my thoughts as of late. Do all of my words and the way I use them show that my spirit is in control? It doesn't matter what the situation is or who the person is; all my actions should indicate that my spirit is ruling over my body.

So dear children, I write....that you may know the importance of having our spirits in control of our bodies. As that takes place in our lives we begin to "receive His image in our countenance".