Saturday, July 31, 2010

6 x 6 Saturday

6 sentences of 6 words on these past 6 days.

1. Priesthood blessing before Scout Camp . . . priceless.

2. Prayers for a lost turtle . . . answered.

3. Refreshment table at wedding receptions . . .dinner.

4. Prednisone for large tonsils . . . not helping.

5. This week's heroine . . . our Bishop's wife!

6. Laundry! Laundry! Laundry! . . . Scout Camp’s OVER!!!!!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Do Ya Think???

Do ya think if I laughed hard enough for long enough I could count that as my abs workout . . . which I even don’t do anyway?

Do ya think I can make it to three wedding receptions this week and count the refreshments as dinner for my family?

Do ya think I could ever stop putting my foot in my mouth? (Okay, don’t answer that one).

Do ya think that after 13 years I would realize that taking eight children to the store is T-O-R-T-U-R-E? (Be it known that my children actually believe it’s torture for them – for THEM!!!!)

Do ya think I could actually hide a package of Oreos without being caught?

Do ya think I could just make one batch of cookies and NOT burn a panful? (I tell you, it is inevitable. I burn one dozen every single time!!!) (Maybe I should just stick to the Oreos) (But that's why I'm making the cookies - to distract my children from knowing about the Oreos).

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


There’s a new billboard in town.

It’s paid for by a laser plastic surgery company.

It’s advertising slogan - complete with beautiful woman in bare shoulders - unabashedly promulgates, “Make Your Inner Beauty Jealous.”



I wanted to SCREAM the first time I saw that stupid billboard.

And I am DISGUSTED every time I see it.

Because it is FALSE!

False! False! False!

As false as white chocolate is chocolate!

But it's even MORE false than that!!

Because this has EVERYTHING to do with petitioning your inner beauty to embrace the natural man.

The NATURAL man.

For because embracing the natural man means I become an enemy to God!

“For the natural man is an enemy to God and has been , and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he (or she) yields to the enticing of the Holy Spirit and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father” (Mosiah 3:19).

Last I checked, (and believe me, I. just. checked.) - THIS is TRUE doctrine.

But I don't see TRUE doctrine advertised, in neon or in any other color, on any billboard that promotes self-indulgence!!

BTW - Doing what I can to make my inner-beauty jealous only takes me farther and farther away from God.
It brings out wonderful traits like: aggressiveness, crudeness, pride, impatience, lust, and obstinence.
Problem is, the scriptures and the words of the prophets denounce these eternally fatal characteristics.
I believe our inner beauty consists of our hearts.
A hardened heart is always accompanied with sin and iniquity.
A broken heart is always yoked with a contrite spirit.
Vaughn J. Featherstone made these powerful statements:
"Lord Byron Buckingham said, “Make my heart transparent as pure crystal, that the world jealous of me, may see the foulest thought my heart does hold.” This philosophy is a great one. Every member of the Church should so live that this state of mind would be a reality. You can determine to make your hearts as transparent crystal. When you do this, certain things are beyond consideration. It is impossible to think a foul or dirty thought. Doing so causes a certain physical and spiritual reaction within us. These thoughts tend to obscure God; they cloud, so slightly at first, our transparent inner self. As we repeat these thoughts, the clouding intensifies, and soon we are not able to view things in their pure form. We lose our judgment, we lose the ability to see things from their true perspective, and we become entangled in Satan’s web.
"To be pure in heart is a most desirable quality. There comes a strength to those who are pure. It is a measurable, physical strength. It was said of Sir Galahad that he had the strength of ten, because his heart was pure. Purity of heart also brings about a mental strength and integrity. In this day of mental conflict and compromise, the person with integrity and purity stands out like a giant in a world of Pygmies.
"There is another dimension of purity that seems to be lost in our day. It is modesty. Few souls on the earth understand what true modesty is. In a recent conversation I asked a great leader in the kingdom what had impressed him most about President J. Reuben Clark, Jr. You would have been surprised with his answer. It wasn’t the unmatched wisdom or brilliant mind. It wasn’t his great spiritual stature. It wasn’t the high esteem in which he was held by the great leaders of nations. It was his total modesty. President J. Reuben Clark, along with all of his other great character traits, had a quality of modesty that is extremely rare in man. He was as modest in his thinking as he was in dress. The slightest deviation from the pure standard was an affront to him. Modesty is necessary to one who is pure in heart. In one of President Clark’s great discourses he was discussing the crucifixion of the Savior. But we catch a glimpse of the man’s modesty as he describes the crucifixion:
"'Having in mind the modesty which I am sure attached to him, recalling the experience of Peter on the lakeshore, how offensive it must have been when they stripped him naked and then laying the cross on the ground, they laid him upon the cross, the crosspiece under his shoulders, a peg protruding from the upright beam, which he straddled to support his body. They first nailed his hands and then his feet, then as the next step in this, the cruelest death of which the ancients knew, they raised the cross and let it drop with a jolt into the pit which was dug to contain it, causing one crucified to suffer excruciating agony.'

"Most of us are concerned about the physical suffering through which Jesus went. President Clark not only suffered with the Savior physically because of great compassion, but he also felt, vicariously, the agonizing experience of one so modest being exposed. To have these feelings of empathy as President Clark had them requires a purity of heart.

"My wonderful young friends, the course is straight and narrow, and few there are that find it; but to you the way is open and before you. As you follow the Master you will find the fruit of your labors to be delicious unto your soul. You will find that all the world has to offer is sham compared to the gospel truths. Strive with all your heart and soul to be pure in heart that you may be worthy to see God and to live with him and with your family eternally."

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tidbit Tuesday - Expectations

"The right dose of expectations can be as powerful as one of the strongest painkillers!"

-David Rock
from his book entitled How Your Brain Works

Monday, July 26, 2010

Family Home Evening - Faith and Miracles

Tonight for Family Home Evening we wanted to give a little more attention to celebration of July 24th. Of course, the challenge is then to incorporate a General Conference talk within our lesson.

No talks in April’s 2010 General Conference were spoken specifically about the Mormon Trek westward. But, after careful searching - we did find!!!

Topic: Faith and Miracles

Objective: Apply a pioneer experience with an experience we can relate to today!

Lesson: I "found" a book at the library entitled Eliza’s Field of Faith by Rachelle Pace Castor and illustrated by Dixon Leavitt.  Actually, I think the book "found" me because I wasn't looking for it.  Because the moment I saw the cover, I was immediately drawn to it and felt so strongly that I needed to incorporate it into Family Home Evening.

So I did what the Spirit told me and checked it out!

Because of this feeling in my heart about this book, I decided NOT to read it beforehand. This allowed the whole family - even me - to discover the principle of this book together.

Before reading the book we took a little picture journey. The illustrations in this book are AMAZING. We took as much time talking about the illustrations as we did reading the book. It allowed all of us to try to figure out the plot and the story line before reading the actual words. Our younger children became immediately captivated and were interested in what the story was really about.

After reading the story we talked about what happened. The whole faith and miracle formula. Then we read an excerpt from Elder Wilford W. Anderson’s talk entitled “The Rock of Our Redeemer.”

There are a few paragraphs in his talk that mention the broken hearts and strong spirits of the pioneers of 1846 as compared to the faithful Saints of Haiti who suffered deeply the earthquake in January of this year.  After reading this excerpt from a conference talk, we began the connection of pioneer experience to a today experience.

As usual, I was amazed at the connections and discoveries my children were able to make. I believe we ended Family Home Evening with a greater appreciation for the sacrifice and faith of the early Saints and a greater determination to follow the prophet.

And WOW!  Using General Conference talks in Family Home Evening is SO possible!!!

Don't Leave a Box Turtle Unattended!

This afternoon it began to rain.

Summer rain.

Cool and soothing.

Wet and delicious.

So because we had to change the underground of our turtles’ abode, we let them out to explore.

Explore in the rain.

And they LOVED it!

One of our turtles finally found refuge under a cardboard box that doubled as a grasshopper hotel.

The other turtle made his way to the middle of the yard and stayed.

Stretching his head as far as he could form outside of his shell, soaking in the cool drops from heaven.

So I stood and watched that reptile for several minutes.

He just stood his ground – surveying the scene.

The moment I went to check on the twins - who were racing sticks down a full gutter at the end of the street - was the moment he decided to make a run for it.

Because when I came back to put that turtle back in his home, HE WAS GONE!

So I called the Search and Rescue.

Seven children scampered out – accepting wholeheartedly the possibility of getting extremely wet – and we searched.

And searched.

And searched.

But with no luck.

So we decided to gather as a family to pray to find our missing turtle – who couldn’t have gone far.

After all, he is a turtle.

And what started out as one voice for eight - became eight voices for one.

And as some of my sweet boys became emotional in their plea to Father in Heaven, I was grateful for our mini-trial today. It gave me hope that maybe, a day in the future, when my children are looking for something much more important than a lost box turtle, they will know Whom to turn - and why.

The miracle or this story is that not too long after breaking from our prayer huddle, we found that resting reptile under an overgrown rosebush.

But the greater miracle – the greater truth of it all is this: GOD LISTENS TO OUR PRAYERS!

Today He just happened to answer it the way we hoped it would be!

What Defines Me

A few posts ago I wrote about some of the things in life that don't define me, and one that does.

I have been thinking a lot about that since.


For because in some situations, under some definitions, I feel very comfortable.  Very myself.

Under other conditions, other circumstances, I feel out of place.  Not me.  Ill defined.

And as I have pondered - deeply - about WHAT defines me, I have decided that aside being a daughter of God, the most important factor in the definition of WHO I am is my membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Yes, I'm a Mormon!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

6 x 6 Saturday

6 sentences of 6 words on these past 6 days

1. Profoundly indebted to the Mormon Pioneers!

2. Various doctor visits: Orthodontist, Dermatologist, Otolaryngologist.

3. Want a homemade ice cream machine!

4. Sons are baking up wicked tans!

5. Family scripture study: Health, Priesthood and Girls!

6. CLICK HERE to read Emily's incredible post!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Poverty vs. Prosperity

My husband is a home inspector.

Last weekend he took me to see one of the homes he inspects for a credit union.

Ummm, can you say GINORMOUS?!

The garage alone was BIGGER than the main floor of the home we are renting!

And it came equipped with a home theater room.

A Swimming pool.

A tennis court.

A basketball court.

And 9000+ square feet to spare!

It has a cool price tag of 1.9 million – (that’s a one point nine with SIX zeroes behind it).

And just for the record, I really liked the kitchen!!  It would be such a great fit for eight hungry kids!  But it was the TWO dishwashers that I felt was a little over-the-top!

But honestly, as I walked around and around and around this unloved, vacant, “Hello, I’m Burning-a-hole-in-the-credit-union’s-pocket” single-family dwelling, I know that even if I did have two million buckaroos, I definitely wouldn’t spend it on a house!

First of all, I probably would lose my children - FOR WEEKS AT A TIME - in a house that big!

Secondly, I’d have to hire a housemaid, a butler, a pool guy, a window washer and then, on top of that, someone else to change the light bulbs in those ceilings that were a good 30 feet up.

Thirdly, I really couldn't afford running five (you counted right 1-2-3-4-5) central air conditioners.

And finally, when is enough - ENOUGH?? 

Contrast that with our fieldtrip/tour to the Humanitarian Center for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

This wonderful, incredible place on earth takes the excess of a small spot of earth and gives, literally, to thousands upon thousands who have little or nothing.

Here are pounds and pounds of clothing sent from the donation centers to be sorted and shrink wrapped and tagged, ready for immediate shipment.

Here are the bags and bags and bags of shoes on pallets.  Ready to be shipped off as well.

And all of these things - THINGS THAT I THROW AWAY - or deem unnecessary, too small, too ugly, too ill-fitting, too "out-of-fashion," are given to people in places or countries who have currently have no indoor plumbing, let alone a swimming pool. . .

Or no place to get a toothbrush or a blanket, let alone six full bathrooms.

Or no pillows or beddings for a bed . . .. .

Maybe, just maybe lucky enough to have 10 square feet of private living space . . .

And when they get a shipment of a 100 pound bale of clothes or shoes - including that blue shirt and khaki pair of pants I gave to the D.I. because my boys were complaining they didn’t like the color - they find joy in the little.

When I complain about a lot!!

Recently I came to understand that even hundreds of years ago this, too, was the plague of the people.

The Book of Mormon prophet, Alma, was concerned about the “inequality” that he saw just among his own people, the Nephites:

For Alma "saw great inequality among the people, some lifting themselves up with their pride, despising others, turning their backs upon the needy and the naked and those who were hungry, and those who were thirst, and those who were sick and afflicted. Now this was a great cause for lamentations among the people" (Alma 4:12-13).

And I believe what Alma found heartbreaking among his people is a concern among us today! President Thomas S. Monson shared his Alma-like thoughts this way in the November 2009 General Conference:

       "Often we live side by side but do not communicate heart to heart. There are those within the sphere of our own influence who, with outstretched hands, cry out, 'Is there no balm in Gilead?'

       "I am confident it is the intention of each member of the Church to serve and to help those in need. At baptism we covenanted to 'bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light.' How many times has your heart been touched as you have witnessed the need of another? How often have you intended to be the one to help? And yet how often has day-to-day living interfered and you’ve left it for others to help, feeling that 'oh, surely someone will take care of that need.'
       "We become so caught up in the busyness of our lives. Were we to step back, however, and take a good look at what we’re doing, we may find that we have immersed ourselves in the 'thick of thin things.' In other words, too often we spend most of our time taking care of the things which do not really matter much at all in the grand scheme of things, neglecting those more important causes.
       "Many years ago I heard a poem which has stayed with me, by which I have tried to guide my life. It’s one of my favorites:
I have wept in the night
For the shortness of sight
That to somebody’s need made me blind;
But I never have yet
Felt a tinge of regret
For being a little too kind.
     "My brothers and sisters, we are surrounded by those in need of our attention, our encouragement, our support, our comfort, our kindness—be they family members, friends, acquaintances, or strangers. We are the Lord’s hands here upon the earth, with the mandate to serve and to lift His children. He is dependent upon each of us."

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tidbit Tuesday - Consider the Lillies

“Think it over. Of all the creatures God created, we are the only ones that have to deal with diapers. Consider the lilies of the field; they neither toil nor spin nor clean up after their junior lily offspring. Consider the birds of the air; the parent birds simply teach the fledglings to aim for you freshly washed car and then they go back to the nest and make humorous little chirps about it.”

-Dave Meurer
From The Hair-Raising Joys of Raising Boys

Monday, July 19, 2010

Family Home Evening - Follow the Prophet

Incorporating recent General Conference talks into our FHE lessons isn’t easy. It takes quite a bit of thought and inspired guidance from the Holy Ghost. Sometimes a talk provides most of the material but most of the time we may use a paragraph from a talk and build a lesson around that to suit the needs of our growing family.

I believe my children need to know WHY it is important to know what the prophets teach us. As I child I was somewhat familiar with what the prophets taught because my mother would tell us those things that were important. She also recorded every conference in VHS. However, I don’t ever remember going over the words of the prophets once the Ensign came out and we didn’t pull out the popcorn to screen the recorded sessions of Conference.

Nevertheless, that did not diminished the responsibility my parents had to teach me the words of living prophets - because they did

But today, as a parent, I have too many tools available NOT to use them to teach my children. I believe I will be accountable for everything I did not teach them because those teachings are literally One. Click. Away.

Just FYI - I don’t post details of everything that happened in our FHE.

First, because what happens week after week is, at times, so unscripted, so NOT made-for-TV that one may read about it and never want to hold FHE again!!

Secondly - and perhaps most importantly - when those unexpected, wonderful moments DO happen to occur, the questions and the answers and the discussions you will have offer a way for the Holy Ghost to enter into your home and teach your family – individually and collectively.

So, for tonight's lesson (drum roll please):

We took the introduction of our lesson from Lesson 24 entitled I Will Follow the Prophet from the Nursery Manual “Behold, Your Little Ones.”

First: We played "follow the leader." We had the younger children be the leaders. (We jumped around, acted like monkeys and sang a song).
Second: We asked our younger children to identify these prophets (this one and this one and this one and this one) using Gospel Art Pictures. We were able to talk about what the Lord told them to tell the people. This brought us to our living, latter-day prophet, Thomas S. Monson, and what the Lord has told him to tell us.

Third: We made up a fun “stomp-clap” to the words of the chorus “Follow the Prophet.” It got pretty loud as we got going!

Fourth: For the younger children we gave them time to color a picture about prophets.

The older children were asked to read President Monson’s priesthood session talk and write down some of the things they felt the Lord wanted them to know through His prophet.

(In retrospect, I would have given each older child a specific paragraph to read and present, rather than having them read the whole talk right there. We did, however, invite them to read this talk sometime tonight or this week).

End: We ended with this question, “When have you been blessed by following the prophet.”

Two shared their thoughts, but I noticed everyone – even the younger children – taking a moment to think about the question, allowing the Holy Ghost to bring to remembrance something that maybe they experienced or remembering hearing from someone else.

We tried to end with the “stomp-clap” we had enjoyed earlier, but our younger three children had checked out and started throwing crayons and acting like monkeys again. So we ended with a song and prayer and and had ice cream cones for our treat!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

6x6 Saturday

6 sentences of 6 words on these past 6 days

1. My oldest is officially a T.E.E.N.A.G.E.R.!!

2. Finished Catching Fire! Ready for Mockingjay!!

3. Nothing deflates pride quite like humility.

4. Learned the story of Helmuth Huebner. (CLICK HERE and HERE and HERE)

5. When the Holy Ghost speaks – LISTEN!

6. Birthday Menu: Spaghetti + Peanut Butter Cake

Good Little Stinker

My children LOVE drinking milk. So much so that we have to remind them they also need to drink water. Today here is a conversation with two of my sons and my husband (who, by the way, is a HUGE tease).

Four year-old: “Dad, will you pour me a cup of milk?”

Husband: “Son, you need to drink some water.”

Four year-old: “Or I’m gonna die?”

Husband (teasing): “Yup.”

Six-year old to Four year-old: “And Daddy will stand up and say, ‘He was a good little stinker!’”

Thursday, July 15, 2010

What Defines Me

The other night I was reading about the Anti-Nephi-Lehies a.k.a. The People of Ammon.

I reflected on their decision to make a covenant with God to bury their weapons of rebellion. Symbolically they buried their swords and in that covenant also promised never again to shed blood.

Before Ammon’s and the sons of Mosiah’s mission to the Lamanites, these people were defined by the Nephites as “blood-thirsty.” Did the Lamanites also define themselves as “blood-thirsty” and through conversion were they able to see their sin and change?

And when they did repent, change their name and bury their weapons of rebellions, were they able to define themselves differently? Were others?

Which brought me to this question: What Defines Me?

The make and model of my vehicle certainly doesn’t define who I am – although it is a tell-tale sign that I drive around more individuals than can fit in a Suburban. And it says A LOT about the number of children we have.

Speaking of children, they don’t define me, either. Refine me, perhaps, although that is an understatement when it comes to this life being my probation! But what my children do and who they are is not a definition of who I am. The times when I see goodness and righteousness seep out of them so purely, so easily, I realize those are God-given gifts. They were His, before they were mine. And the times when I see myself reflected in them, I realize why God has given me the responsibility to repent.

The tags on my clothes definitely don’t define who I am – for because if it is important to wear the stuff that’s hot . . . I’m not. I choose modesty over fashion and a thrift store purchase an overpriced, over-the-top, over-rated name brand.

The house and the neighborhood I choose to live doesn’t reflect a true definition of who I am. Furthermore, what I have to “show” in this house that I call home isn’t impressing anyone at all. It has taken me some time to figure out that it is not WHERE one lives that is important, but HOW one lives that really matters.

My husband does not define me anymore than my children do. But, in this course that we call marriage – eternal marriage - I am learning to yoke myself to him. Cleave to him. Follow him as He follows God. That still makes me, me. And that still makes him, him. But it defines us as one. Isn’t that interesting!

Still, there are many things that do define pieces of me: What music I prefer to listen, What I choose to do on the Sabbath, What books I choose to read, What movies I watch, What I do with my time . . .

What does define me, more than I can understand, is my divine heritage to my Heavenly Father. He is my Father and I am His daughter (Imperfect, stubborn, impatient me!)

Once, long ago, when I was old enough to want to know something but young enough not to know anything, I found out that between my paternal and maternal ancestry lines, I had absolutely ZERO connection to even one early Latter-day Saint who crossed the plains to Utah before 1940!!

It left me feeling very envious (okay, envious is an understatement) and disappointed in my forbears for NOT figuring it out sooner so we could be part of the “in” group (Can you believe me?).

Oh, HOW pathetically naïve was I!

Then, one Stake Conference Sunday, a sister spoke of the same feelings she had had - she being a convert to the Church and all. (Had I even considered that converts would feel the same way about their family history?)

So she told us to imagine our family tree, with my name being the first one on the first line. That was easy to imagine.

Then, she said to imagine a straight line being drawn to the right, this one with the name, Heavenly Father.

Quite suddenly, my heart was able to burst the ugly bands of disappointment and resentment. I was able to connect, in such a spiritual way, that my bond, my heritage, my connection to my Heavenly Father doesn’t span the generations. It is direct.

He is my Father. I am His daughter.

And I am brought back to the question as to what defines me. Maybe I should say WHO defines me. Because ultimately, if definition will make a difference, it is He that can define who I am and who I can be.

I’d rather not be defined in any other way.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Random Thoughts

For our Relief Society Meeting yesterday, a group of us went to an Alzheimer’s Hospice to sing to a sister who is from our ward.

She has been there for several years.

We certainly weren’t professional when it came to singing, but you should have seen the brightness in eyes of these elderly people as we sang the songs they loved: “You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby”, “I Love You Truly”, “Baby Face”, and “You Are My Sunshine.”

As I looked out I saw several of them singing along with us.  It made my heart fill with emotion and I had to stop them at the tear ducts!

And then It. Hit. Me.

What songs would a group of Relief Society sisters sing to me 40 years from now? Michael Jackson? U2? Taylor Swift?


 * * *

Tonight we attended a convert baptism.

I HEART convert baptisms!

The man who was baptized tonight has been attending Church regularly in our ward for almost a year.

He was on his 5th set of missionaries!

And one of the elders who helped in teaching him, was supposed to be released today. But instead, there he sat, alongside his mom and dad who had come to take him home, to be released early tomorrow morning from his service as an honorable full-time missionary.

My younger children had not ever seen a convert baptism before so they were curious because they knew this man from Church.  They were even more intrigued that he didn’t get baptized when he was eight.

Six year-old son: “So, he didn’t get baptized when he was a boy?”

Me: “No.”

Son: “Why not?”

Me: “Maybe he didn’t know about the Church to go to Church.”

Son: “But why wouldn’t his parents take him then?”

Me: “I don’t know, but that is why there are missionaries to teach the gospel and baptize big people who didn’t know about it when they were eight.”

Son: “Wow! That’s awesome.”

* * *

My twins are 11 year-old Scouts.

It is sad to say that the first time they went fishing was this week.

And they went fishing with their Scout leaders!

And they caught four fish!

And they learned the techniques of gutting . . .

Which mean they brought these four fish HOME WITH THEM with the assignment to cook ‘em up!

YIKES! My husband and I DO NOT like to eat fish, let alone smell fish, which is why we have left the Scout leaders in charge of showing our boys other ways to have fun.

But then, receiving the assignment to COOK THEM UP???

So, to keep the odor in our home to just seven sweaty boys, a girl with half a tub of lipgloss on her face and a snorting Chihuahua, we did the de-scaling, de-capitations and de-cooking outside on the grill.

We brushed the fish with an oil and lemon juice mixture, sprinked them with salt, placed them in foil and put them in the grill . . .

I have to say, for somewhat small fish - with tiny, eentsy, thin translucent bones and careful picking through the meat and all, it filled everyone up!

And, it was a completion of a Merit Badge!!

Even though I did fill up on cantaloupe and rice!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tidbit Tuesday - Lessons from Liberty Jail

"You can have sacred, revelatory, profoundly instructive experience with the Lord in any situation you are in. Indeed, let me say that even a little stronger: You can have sacred, revelatory, profoundly instructive experience with the Lord in the most miserable experiences of your life—in the worst settings, while enduring the most painful injustices, when facing the most insurmountable odds and opposition you have ever faced.

"Every one of us, in one way or another, great or small, dramatic or incidental, is going to spend a little time in Liberty Jail—spiritually speaking. We will face things we do not want to face for reasons that may not have been our fault. Indeed, we may face difficult circumstances for reasons that were absolutely right and proper, reasons that came because we were trying to keep the commandments of the Lord. We may face persecution; we may endure heartache and separation from loved ones; we may be hungry and cold and forlorn. Yes, before our lives are over we may all be given a little taste of what the prophets faced often in their lives. But the lessons of the winter of 1838–39 teach us that every experience can become a redemptive experience if we remain bonded to our Father in Heaven through that difficulty. These difficult lessons teach us that man’s extremity is God’s opportunity, and if we will be humble and faithful, if we will be believing and not curse God for our problems, He can turn the unfair and inhumane and debilitating prisons of our lives into temples—or at least into a circumstance that can bring comfort and revelation, divine companionship and peace."

-Jeffery R. Holland
CLICK HERE to read Elder Holland's entire article!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Family Home Evening - Are We Fulfilling Our Duty To God?

At Stake Conference earlier this Spring, our Stake President invited each family to specifically incorporate that current General Conference talks in Family Home Evening.  I have been blessed by following the council of my priesthood leaders and have asked the Lord's guidance to help me to apply these talks on Monday Nights.

Monday Blogs will now focus what we did for our Family Home Evening.  Maybe it will invite an idea for your Family Home Evening next week!

I would also love it if you would share your ideas as well!

Topic: Are We Fulfilling Our Duty to God?
(April 2010 General Conference talk by Brother David L. Beck)

Activity: We took a short family hike/picnic dinner around a lake. The sights and sounds were astounding as we were able to observe flora and fauna and take in all the delicious fragrances that come with hiking in the mountains.

Lesson: After enjoying an environment of nature we had the following discussion: 

(A Personal Note on Family Discussions: I have found that as we allow our children to think and discuss their ideas, most of the time the points we as parents wanted to bring out and focus upon come up naturally.  Our children's insights become powerful motivators for them to act for themselves because they are the ones who brought up the discussion!!)

      1. Imagine if we lived in America 2000 years ago.  How would life be different for us?

      2. Imagine if you were a Nephite and had the opportunity to see our day.  What are some of the things you would see that would be alarming to you?  Exciting to you?  Weird to you?  Sad to you? Why?

     3. Moroni had the opportunity to see our day. He got to see US!! Read and discuss Mormon 8:35-39.  Discuss the things that concerned Moroni.  Discuss why he was concerned and how it applies to our day - to us.

     4. Read a portion from Bro. Beck's talk.  We chose to apply the following part (making the necessary adaptations to fit our family), emphasizing certain things:

"I testify that you will feel your heart changing as you become a faithful priesthood man. You will seek to be completely clean and administer the sacrament worthily. You will treat every young woman with kindness and respect. You will honor your parents. You will avoid offending the Spirit in what you think, say, or do. You will come to know the Lord, whom you serve, and you will ever strive to be like Him.

"I testify that your faithful service in the Aaronic Priesthood will change the lives of those you serve. There are people who need your priesthood service. Your family needs you. Your quorum needs you. The Church needs you. The world needs you.

"There is an urgency for you to fulfill your duty to God. I am confident that you will.

End with having someone share a personal testimony or experience!

P.S. We ALWAYS open and read from the scriptures during Family Home Evening.  We also have copies of the Ensign for each child.  CLICK HERE to read how we gave them their personal copy in Family Home Evening.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Personal Revelation

I am being tutored in personal revelation. I am a slow learner.

Here are some of the things that I am being taught:

1. When the Lord answers my prayers and tells me - with clarity - what I am to do, the entire idea of it all becomes empowering, exhilarating and quite frankly, intimidating! Intimidating because I KNOW all my weaknesses. I KNOW all my flaws. And He knows them all better than I do. And He still trusts that I can pull it off?! Really?!

2. Personal Revelation is a process. It comes line upon line upon line as I ask, wait, listen; ask, seek, find; ask, go, do. Somewhere in that process of asking and seeking and fasting and doing, sometimes it may culminate into something I would have NEVER considered in the beginning. Never, with a capital N! But when it is right, I must go and do what the Lord has asked.

3. Sometimes personal revelation can affect others. In this specific case of mine, it will have a direct effect on my immediate family. Now, as this process continues, I will learn how the Lord uses one member in a family to bring about His purposes. I am excited and interested how my husband and my children will choose to hear His voice, feel His Spirit, and receive their personal witness as well.

4. Family Council is the forum in which matters such as these, are presented, discussed, and decided upon. Sometimes it will require more than one Family Council to determine the outcome so time can be given to ponder, pray and fast, if necessary.

5. Personal revelation is just that. PERSONAL. It comes to us as a gift from God as we seek to know and do His will for us. It is the end result that is seen by others, and it is the end result, sometimes, becoming the target of criticism or disapproval. With that said, I am trying to be more careful to not judge unrighteously. “Why did you decide to move there?” “Why would you foster a child?” “Why did you quit your job?” “Why aren’t you having more children?” “Why are you on medication?” Sometimes questions like these can only be answered by replying, “Because that was what I felt was the right thing to do.” I believe it is because the process of receiving revelation becomes such a sacred, sanctifying, purifying personal experience it leaves little ability in describing to others the whys and the hows of a decision, unless both are moved upon by the Holy Ghost.

6. Just as receiving an answer is a process, I think fulfilling the end result becomes a process as well. It enables me to trust that the Lord will help me, teach me, guide me and see it through to the end – His end. Perhaps within the next few weeks I’ll be able to share the end result. Until then, know that I am filled with gratitude that the Lord does speak to us, listens to us, answers us and then allows us to go and do!!!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

6 x 6 Saturday

6 sentences of 6 words on these past 6 days

1. Husband home from youth conference – SMoOoOoCH!

2. Children . . . I’m NOT a short-order cook!!

3. Went to the Temple with friends!

4. Discovered a FABULOUS new blog:

5. Ever amazed when God answers me!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Dear LandLady

Dear Landlady:

You will never, ever know what a blessing you are to me.


I mean, who, in their right mind, rents to a family of ten? 10!

You’re the only one I know of so far.

And just so you know, every. single. night. when I look up and see a ceiling over my head, AND hear my children STILL carrying on when it has been 3 hours, 27 minutes and 19 seconds since we’ve put them to bed, AND hear the “shloosh” of the dishwasher washing every last bit of silverware we have in the house, AND then open the window to feel the cool, night breeze, I thank Heavenly Father for you!

Thank you for being His hands!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

My Boys in Suits

This morning I really had something so profoundly blogworthy brewing up in my head . . . twelve hours later I’m wondering how to detox my day with a brainload of kids . . . I mean detox my brain after a day full of kids!

So now, I am just happy to report that I did accomplished everything I needed to do today – including taking my sons’ Sunday suits to the dry cleaners - which has been on my “To Do” list for FOUR weeks!

My. Boys. In. Suits.


What a VERY handsome sight for me to see on Sundays!

However, my boys in suits when there is food around (or teeth to be brushed after getting dressed) is the very reason I needed to pay a visit to the Dry Cleaners.

I sure hope I can figure out how to teach those boys of mine the difference between a napkin and a suit sometime before they serve their missions.

I only have six years.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Tidbit Tuesday - Had A Bad Day?

"Not only has the Savior suffered, in His case entirely innocently, but so have most of the prophets and other great men and women recorded in the scriptures.  Name an Old Testament or Book of Mormon prophet, name a New Testament Apostle, name virtually any of the leaders in any dispensation, including your own, and you name someone who has had trouble.

"My point? If you are having a bad day, you've got a lot of company - very, very good company.  The best company that has ever lived!"

-Jeffery R. Holland

Sunday, July 4, 2010

This Land

In this land,
On this soil,
A time before the birth of Christ,
An army of men and women and children –
Took upon themselves - gladly - the name of Christ.
Their leader, a man named Moroni,
poured out his soul to God.
Naming all the land - both on the north and on the south -
a Chosen Land.
The Land of Liberty.
“In memory of our God,
our religion,
and freedom,
and our peace,
our wives
and our children.”
An archetype to One Nation Under God.
A Prologue to the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Happy July 4th!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

6 x 6 Saturday

6 sentences of 6 words on the past 6 days

1. Summertime + Eight Kids = THAT much food!!

2. Following impressions can lead to safety.

3. What you give out DOES comes back.

4. Sons + sun = Boys with MONSTER tans!

5. This week: Thirty-two loads of laundry!!

6. It’s all about faith and repentance.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Answers to the Important Things

This evening our family went for a walk. As soon as we stepped foot outside my five year-old daughter grabbed my arm and said, “Mom, let’s talk!”

Me: All right! What do you want to talk about?

Daughter (thinking, with her finger on her mouth) : Umm, let’s talk about getting into a car crash.

Me: Okay.

Daughter: Why do some people go to sleep when they drive?

Me: I guess they go to sleep because they are tired.

Daughter: And then they go across the road and crash?! What happens when they wake up?

Me: Sometimes when wake up they find out they’re in a crash. Sometimes when they wake up they find themselves in heaven.

Daughter: In heaven? How did they get up into heaven?

Me: Well, that is what happens if they crash and die.

Daughter (gazing up into the sky): But heaven is so high up in the sky. How do they get up there? Do their spirits fly?

Me: Honey, that is a good question but I don’t know.

Daughter: How come you don’t know?

Me: Because I have never died before.

Daughter (irritated with my answer): So, what you're saying is you don’t know how they get up into heaven!

Me: No.

Daughter (exasperated and determined) Humph, since you don’t know what happens I’m going to go ask Dad about it!

Me: Dad?

Daughter: Yes, because he knows the answers to the important things!