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Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Epiphany of 2011

So I had an epiphany last year . . . about three months into the new year.

So it was too late for me to start for 2011.

And much, much too late for me to start at the beginning of our family because our oldest is currently teen-age and all.

BUT, the most fabulous thing is that even after I aged almost 12 months
since the epiphany, I still remembered!

And so I'll share!

This year I've made up a two-sided form for each person to fill out.

So it's more than just a resolution list or a prediction list.

So after it's all filled out by everyone, I will tuck them away until next year . . .

And save them from here on out.

Then, in five or ten or fifteen years (when our youngest becomes teen-age and all), all the things we wrote down will be a treasure!!!

Think important Family History Information!

On one side the form has the following things to fill out:
Name and AgeHeight and Weight (not so important to adults, but very important for my children)
Ecclesiastical Leaders/Church responsibilities
Grade and teacher(s)
Favorite/Least School Subjects
Favorite Food
Favorite Color
Favorite Movie
Favorite Day of the Week
Talents
Pet Peeves
Fears
Things that bring sadness/happiness
What I want to be when I grow up
A place I'd like to visit
Some things about me
Next year on New Year's Eve 2012, I want to say that I accomplished . . .
In five years, I will be _______ years old and here's what I will be doing . . .
The best things that happened to me in 2011 . . .
Some memories I have of this year . . .

The other side it is divided into two columns.

One column had general information like the President of the United States, the President of the Church, Governor of the State. It also has information about current events and also a small list of what things cost. Things like a gallon of gas, a loaf of bread, a postal stamp (because they are going up next month!!!) and a gallon of milk. And finally, some fun facts about what each family member is into these days: music, basketball, eating chocolate bon-bons (oops, did I totally give mine away??)

The other column is titled "2012 Predictions" for each member of the family to fill out. And the sky's the limit on that! That should be fun and interesting to go over come next New Year's Eve 2012!

And there it is - my epiphany which I happily share with you on this, the very last day of 2011.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Friday, December 30, 2011

New Year's Adam

I've been thinking about Adam and Eve.

Because if tomorrow's New Year's Eve, tonight is New Year's Adam . . .

But seriously folks, I really have been thinking about Adam and Eve

And their relationship.

One of the things I have pondered is Adam's willingness to eat of the fruit only after knowing Eve had partaken of it.

He didn't have to eat it.

He could have easily said, "Eve, how much I loved you and how much you've disappointed me! I didn't come into this covenant marriage to marry myself a sinner. But it looks like I have!! And frankly, honey, I can't go on like this with you blatantly disobeying and breaking Father's commandments. You know, the important one where we couldn't eat from the fruit of that tree. So, Eve, you go on your merry little way, off into the wild blue yonder where I hear it is terrible and lonely, and I'll stay put. Right here. Right here in this beautiful garden where sinners aren't permitted."

But that is not what Adam did.

And I don't believe it was even close to what he thought, either.

For because of the covenant marriage he and Eve shared, that Adam chose to partake of the fruit to accompany his wife into that wild blue yonder we affectionately call mortality.

And while I am not saying that every husband or wife should stick with their spouse under every, single circumstance of disobedience, I'm under the strong impression that Adam and Eve serve as an example of how a husband and wife can successfully and happily work things out in a covenant marriage.

Together.

In this wild blue yonder we affectionately call mortality.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

On Giving and Receiving

This Christmas season taught me about giving . .

And it also taught me a lot about receiving.

For because I come from a looooong ol' line of pure, unadulterated, die-hard givers.

On both sides of my family.

So it wasn't like I was given a dominant render-service-without-expecting-anything-in-return-exclamation-point gene coupled with a hidden recessive it's-important-to-receive-as-well-as-to-give-so-that-the-person-rendering-service-to-you-can-be-blessed-like-you-are-blessed-when-you-render-service-to-others gene.

Nope.

I got the double whammy of the dominant-dominant "Service to Others Only" gene.

"Take Nada in Return."

And I've been so good at it. . . about taking nada in return, that is.

Because that's wis the legacy of my parents, and my parents' parents, and my parents' parents' parents'.

Givers and Servers they all were.

Not Takers and Receivers.

And here is where this year's Christmas lesson came in for me.

Drum Roll please . . . pah-rum-pah-pum-pum)

There is a reason God wants us to serve others.

He does it because if we didn't think outside of ourselves, we would all be selfish, narcissistic little brats - always thinking of ourselves, constantly feeling sorry for ourselves, finding ways to puff ourselves up yadda, yadda, yadda.

So God, knowing full-well what happens to us in our carnal, natural state, commands us to serve others.

To get out minds off ourselves and our problems and our things.

And place our minds and our hearts in His, by loving and serving His children.

And while we're off doing all we can to obey the commandment to "Do Unto Others," a magnificent transformation occurs.

We start to look outside of ourselves, and feel less sorry for ourselves and more observant of those who are less fortunate than we, and somehow, our nature slowly changes and becomes more like His.

More kind.

More tenderhearted.

More charitable.

And that is where I learned of another commandment.

The one that exhorts us to "Come Unto Him."

Coming unto Christ means, in essence, that we must RECEIVE Him.

And that requires a great deal of humility, especially when "Give" is your mantra and "Receive" is four letter word plus three.

But I'm learning that in how I receive is how I can become even a better giver.

It is first by giving.

And giving some more.

And at times, giving when it seems like there is nothing left to give.

And then, when my heart is sufficiently humble, He then asks others to give unto me.

Which means I can either refuse.

And refusing means I choose not to accept Him.

Or I can receive with a profoundly, broken heart.

Which means I let Him in.

It means I accept Him!

And in this humble receiving I am offered the opportunity to become more like Him.

More kind.

More tenderhearted.

More charitable.

Indeed, I am learning that Christmas is about the giving and about the receiving.

And it lasts all lifetime long.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tidbit Tuesday - Joy

"Joy is the flag you fly when the Prince of Peace is in residence within your heart."

-Wilfred Peterson

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Absolute Security or Freedom?

In the war in heaven the devil advocated absolute eternal security at the sacrifice of our freedom. Although there is nothing more desirable to a Latter-day Saint than eternal security in God's presence, and although God knew, as did we, that some of us would not achieve this security if we were allowed our freedom - yet the very God of heaven, who has more mercy than us all, still decreed no guaranteed security except by man's own freedom of choice and individual initiative.

Today the devil as a wolf in a supposedly new suit of sheep's clothing is enticing some men, both in and out of the Church, to parrot his line by advocating planned government guaranteed security programs at the expense of our liberties. Latter-day Saints should be reminded how and why they voted as they did in heaven. If some have decided to change their vote they should repent - throw the support on the side of freedom - and cease promoting this subversion.

Ezra Taft Benson
General Conference, October 1961 (italics added)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Friction Factor

The other day my six year old was very angry.

Temper Tantrum Angry.

And when she gets that way there is A LOT of friction that goes on.

So she and I sat down to talk about the "heat" that rises to the surface when we are angry.

And after a meaningful discussion, enough to calm her down, we ended up rubbing our hands together - as fast as we could - to be able to feel and understand the heat that comes when two opposing forces are up against each other.

And that's when I learned something about anger.

It comes when I pit my divine nature against my natural, carnal (wo)man.

And always  - not sometimes or even most of the time - when I submit to that friction, I come up empty.

And very, very warm!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Occupy Kitchen

Today is Thanksgiving.

I spent 99% of my time occupying the kitchen.

Cooking.

Baking.

Cleaning.

From start to finish.

And I find it interesting how excited everyone was to join me in the kitchen to help me create.

Squeezing the juice.

Mashing the potatoes.

Sprinkling the cinnamon.

Rolling out the pastry.

Tasting the cranberry salsa.

But how tired everyone was to help clean up when the feasting was all over.

Clearing the table.

Putting the food away.

Doing the dishes.

Wiping down the counters.

The creating part - fun.

The cleaning part - not so fun, but oh, so very necessary.

Which got me thinking about how grateful I am for a Savior, even Jesus Christ.

He who is Author and Finisher.

He who was there at the Creation.

And He who will be there for the Cleanup.

Our Friend to the end.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

My Maidservant

Because of goodly parents, I grew up observing the Sabbath as a holy day.

No work.

No shopping.

No television.

No playing outside.

And the wearing of appropriate Sunday attire - all day long.

I have always been grateful for my parents who expected us to live the fourth commandment.

And I do all that I can to teach and live the same for my children.

So today, I received an additional Sabbath tidbit - from above, mind you - when I realized that a load of washing hadn't made it into the dryer before the Sabbath came.

Boy, was I t.e.m.p.t.e.d. to place that one load into the dryer, casually throw in a dryer sheet, walk away and let it tumble dry.

So. little. work. for. me.

And then, almost immediately as the thought of temptation turned nigh into action, this part of the fourth commandment caught my heart:

But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates.
That's when I asked myself this curious question, "Could my dryer be considered a manservant or a maidservant?"

Okay, definitely NOT a manservant. . .

But I put down the lid to the washer anyway. I was being taught what I needed to know.

And I'll wait until Monday to get that maidservant to work for me.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Widow, the Jar of Oil and Me

I have always loved the story of the widow of Zarephath.

She who obeyed - trustingly and faithfully - as she made her last meal, not for herself and her son, but for a weakened, famished prophet of God.

And in all my pondering in this story of pure faith and faithful obedience, it is the ending of that story I have pondered the very most.

How did that flour barrel never empty?

How did that cruse of oil never dry?

When the widow removed a cup or poured a portion, did it refill when she wasn't looking?

Or were the measurements always constant, defying the very laws of nature, because of the promise from the Lord?

Until today I had no answer.

Mind you, I am not a widow.

And I have much more than a cup of flour and a few drops of oil in my pantry.

But today, because of the compassion of others, my family and I were the recipients of mercy beyond my understanding.

And my heart filled with such a deep, profound perspective on this widow of Zarephath which I had never before taken into consideration.

Perhaps the widow's flour barrel never emptied and her cruse of oil never dried because of the selfless service of others.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Anything other than NO is Y.E.S.

Today my husband and I discussed a little teeny, tiny problem we are having at our house.

According to our otherwise adorable, lively, energetic children, any response to their Yes/No question other than a N.O. - and I mean anything - means YES.

Today for example.

Our five year old asked if he could play a game on the computer.

"I don't think so," I replied, rather firmly.

"Woo Hoo," he skipped off, dancing a little jig and waving his little fingers in the air as a sign of victory. "Mom said I could play the computer."

"Get over here young man!" I ordered. "I did not say 'yes.' I said 'I don't think so.'"

"I know." he smiled. "And that means YES."

Then tonight.

My husband and I were in the kitchen when our teenage son asked if he could download an original YouTube video his friend's Deacon's Quorum made about being a deacon.

"Can I download it tonight?"

"No. It's already past your bedtime," I answered.

"Okay then, how about tomorrow after school?"

"Perhaps tomorrow . . . 'er ," I slowed my pace, got my brain into focus, remembering that anything other than NO is a YES and responded, "No. No you can't download it tomorrow afterschool! But you can do it on Friday or Saturday when your homework is finished."

"What?!" he stuttered incredulously. "But you just said YES!"

That's when my husband and I broke into harmonious laughter.

We now are looking for someone to teach English to our children.

Anyone?

The Modest, Monotonous and Mundane

I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth.

Because if I did, I certainly would have blogged about it.

But fortunately, it has been the modest, the monotonous, and the mundane that has completely overtaken my time to blog.

It has made me feel extremely blessed that life can be filled with just that – modesty, monotony, and mundane-ness – and the Lord is able to fill me with understanding and joy.

I suppose that is why it is the “small and simple things” that bring great things to pass. . .

Including dishes, dinners, diapers, dirty laundry and science fair projects.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tidbit Tuesday - Adversity

"If you haven't been through adversity, where have you been?"

-Mary Ellen Edmunds

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Remember the Receiving

I will not lie when I say there have been dark times in my life when I was certain I couldn't go on.

Certain that no one really could know the depth my pain or the height my despair except God Himself.

And He did.

He always sent help.

His help has come to me in the kind, thoughtful service of others.

Those divine acts of love and mercy have made deep, everlasting impressions upon my heart. Impressions that can't be erased, but can only be remembered as I give in return.

That's why I've joined with so many others in supporting this month's cause to raise money for single moms. (See my sidbar widget!!!)

While there are lots of statistics out there about single moms (CLICK HERE),the bottom line is I want to show the Lord, in my small way, that I do remember His kindnesses towards me.

And this month this is how I'm choosing to do it.

Will you remember a time when the Lord has been kind to you. Perhaps even overly kind and downright merciful?

Will you remember how you felt?

How humble and how joyful?

In that same spirit of receiving, will you give?

Maybe today you can only afford to give a dollar.

Then just give a dollar.

Perhaps today you can give a little more.

Then give a little more.

Whether giving big or small, if we remember how our hearts felt in our times of humble receiving, I am certain that we will be filled with His love, even charity, as we bless the lives of single mothers who will be able to do incredible things for themselves and the ones they love!

Friday, October 28, 2011

One Answer at a Time

I've thought of many different ways I can share my testimony.

While reading Mosiah 7, Ammon taught me something very important.

After being tied up, escorted to King Limhi and finally given permission to plead his cause, here is what Ammon did, "he went forth and bowed himself before the king; and rising again he said: O king, I am very thankful before God this day that I am yet alive, and am permitted to speak."

Did you get that?

Did you see how Ammon bore his testimony of God to the king right from the very beginning?

Which makes me think about questions that I get from time to time and if my answers are bearing testimony of Him.

Question: Why did you move here?
Answer 1: Well, we sold our home and found that this area was most suitable to my husband's work.
Answer 2: The Lord was looking out for us and brought us to this area.

Question: Did you always plan on having nine children?
Answer 1: No way! If you would have told me that 14 years ago I would have laughed in your face or more seriously, had a mental break down.
Answer 2: No. But I have always willing to have as many children as God would want me to have.

Question: How do you manage having your husband self-employed?
Answer 1: I've learned to deal with it. At least he's happier working for himself than for someone else.
Answer 2: I'm learning that being self-employed gives our family sweet, learning opportunities to have faith in the Lord and recognize His marvelous blessings in our life.

Question: Do you do all of your own cooking and baking?
Answer 1: We certainly can't afford to go out to dinner as a family very often, if at all, so I've been consigned to be as frugal as possible.
Answer 2: The Lord has opened up the possibilities for me to learn new talents and skills.  Those talents have also allowed my family to eat some very delicious meals!

The other day my sister was in a car accident. It wasn't her fault. She was broadsided in a middle of an intersection. After the initial shock of what had happened and the assessment of the extensive damage done to her vehicle, the Spirit reminded her of was said during their family prayer that morning. That every member of their family would be safe and protected.

Okay, so there was major, collateral damage to the car. But she, and two of her children who were in the car, were unharmed. Unhurt.  Protected.

So when my sister approached the driver, who was sobbing hysterically and saying the words "I'm so sorry" over and over again, do you know what my sister did? She bore her testimony. She simply said, "It's okay! My family and I are okay because this morning during family prayer we prayed to the Lord that we would be safe. It is His miracle this afternoon that none of us are hurt!"

She bore her witness.

Just. Like. That.

And so like Ammon and my sister, I'm going to do better at sharing my testimony that God does live and that He does have a hand in my life.

One answer at a time.

There's a WHOLE LOT MORE to "Love At Home!"

Sometimes, I am the last to know.

Thank you to my sister who made me aware that John Hugh McNaughton penned more words than just the ones we sing to the beloved hymn "Love At Home."

There is beauty all around,
When there’s love at home;
There is joy in every sound,
When there’s love at home;
Peace and plenty here abide,
Smiling sweet on every side,
Time doth softly, sweetly glide,
When there’s love at home.
Love at home, love at home;
Time doth softly, sweetly glide,
When there’s love at home.

In the cottage there is joy,
When there’s love at home;
Hate and envy ne’er annoy,
When there’s love at home;
Roses bloom beneath our feet,
All the earth’s a garden sweet,
Making life a bliss complete,
When there’s love at home.
Love at home, love at home;
Making life a bliss complete,
When there’s love at home.

Love becomes a way of life,
When there’s love at home;
Sweet, insistent end to strife,
When there’s love at home;
Glad submission each one’s gift,
Willing pledge to love and lift,
Healing balm for every rift,
When there’s love at home.
Love at home, love at home;
Healing balm for every rift,
When there’s love at home.

Anger cools and pressures cease,
When there’s love at home;
Children learn to live in peace,
When there’s love at home;
Courage to reach out in grace,
Meet a stranger face to face,
Find a reconciling place,
When there’s love at home.
Love at home, love at home;
Find a reconciling place,
When there’s love at home.

There’s no question you can’t ask,
When there’s love at home;
There is strength for any task,
When there’s love at home;
Sharing joy in work or play,
Confidence to face the day,
Knowing love will find a way,
When there’s love at home.
Love at home, love at home;
Knowing love will find a way,
When there’s love at home.

Kindly heaven smiles above,
When there’s love at home;
All the world is filled with love,
When there’s love at home;
Sweeter sings the brooklet by,
Brighter beams the azure sky;
Oh, there’s One who smiles on high
When there’s love at home.
Love at home, love at home;
Oh, there’s One who smiles on high
When there’s love at home.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Creeping Me Out!

So the other day a news story caught my attention.

And of course I had to wait until the very end of the news to hear what I wanted to hear.

The story was how to keep spiders out of your home because arachnids want to find a warm place to live during the cold, winter months. (Imagine that)!

And one of the ways to keep spiders from hanging around your home (punny, 'eh?) is simply, to destroy their webs.

Because webs are a food source.

And while I don’t know how others think about the whole webbed matter, SPIDER WEBS CREEP ME OUT!

And to think that allowing webs in my house enables these eight-legged, multi-eyed, carnivorous trappers to live c.o.m.f.o.r.t.a.b.l.y. in MY environment creeps me out even more.

Which made me think of the webs I have hanging around inside of me.

Webs I have craftily spun within my heart.

And in my mind.

Webs that are a food source for things that, quite frankly, should be creeping me out.

But more seriously, they keep me from feeling His light.

And receiving His love.

One way to destroy these webs is to sweep them away.

And as Enos teaches, having faith in the Savior and relying upon His atonement, allows those webs to be swept permanently away!

No more food source for the adversary as I rely upon the enabliing power of the Savior, the Ultimate Exterminator!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Rated PG

This weekend we bought 17 Miracles.

Which is a BIG, HUGE deal because we very rarely, if ever, purchase DVD's.

But this movie is top on our "exceptional" list.

During the very end of the credits, the rating of the movie is posted.

PG: Parental Guidance Suggested
For thematic material involving hardships and suffering.

Whoa!

Because I'm thinking, who doesn't go through life with at least that type of PG rating?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Laundry 101

I do a LOT of laundry!!

Five, six, seven loads on most days.

Except Sundays, of course, when I rest from all my labors (including laundry). But believe me, I pay for it BIG TIME come Monday morning.

So, as you can imagine, I do my fair share of thinking about laundry while sorting, soaking, washing, drying, sorting, folding and putting away . . .

And even MUCH more time thinking about laundry when I have to match socks (times eleven) and, without fail, always come up matchless in the end.

Of all the batches I wash, The Whites are the ones on which I spend the most time.

There's the careful sorting, of course.

And a spot wash here and there.

Then the soaking and scrubbing.

Then there is the cold rinse/wash followed by the hot wash, which is occasionally enriched with a bleaching process.

And that doesn't include the time I spend ironing.

So after all these years of laundry, laundry, laundry, last week I got to thinking about laundry on a bigger scale.

Like the eternal picture of laundry.

And I have decided that I am part of God's Big White Laundry Project.

Because I'm not so white and clean and stain-free as He would like me to be.

And He would like me to be.

And I want to be. Because if I'm not, I don't get to live with Him someday.

And while I am slow to learn, I am beginning to figure out that the soaking and the scrubbing and the cold and hot washes and the whole bleaching process are not only very good things for me, they are vital for me in coming clean and pure before Him.

But there is one thing that surpasses all of my meager understanding.

It is the way (the only way) that I can become the clean.

Clean without spot.

For while a blood stain on white fabric is difficult or impossible to remove (although hydrogen peroxide does a great job), it is the very blood of the Son of God that cleanses me from all stain, from all blemish, from all sin.

It is His blood that can make me, as Isaiah says, "white. as. snow." (Isaiah 1:18).

I don’t pretend to understand how God does His laundry. . .

But boy, am I grateful and indebted to be a part of it.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Tidbit Tuesday - The Grass is Greener

"The grass that looks greener on the other side may be artificial turf."

-Mary Ellen Edmunds

Monday, October 3, 2011

Tipping Points and Miracles

I just got through reading two remarkable books, both by authors Chris Stewart and Ted Stewart. The books are entitled: "The Miracle of Freedom: 7 Tipping Points that Saved the World" and "Seven Miracles that Saved America: Why They Matter and Why We Should Have Hope."

These books gave me reason to ponder more deeply the vibrant, undeniable assertion that God does live and that He does care about nations, kindreds, tongues and people.

God cares about the earth that He formed and created and placed man thereon to till and sweat and multiply and replenish.

God cares about agency, liberty, and freedom.

God cares about you and He cares about me.

It has been during these pondering sessions that I realized that even in my small and rather simple life, there have been tipping points and significant miracles in my life.

I guess I never thought them as so until reading these books.

So I made two lists.

One list is contains the "Tipping Points" of my life.

The other list is entitled "Miracles" and contains, for now, just a brief summary of events, of which I have personal knowledge of the hand of the Lord protecting and preserving my life.

By all means these two lists are not long.

But every, single thing on both lists are real happenings in my life that adds to my certainty that God lives.

It also adds to my conviction that not only does God watch over and care for the great and marvelous (such as ancient prophets and the restoration of His true and everlasting gospel), but He is ever aware of the seemingly small and simple who are largely unknown by the 99.9% of all mankind (like the lilies of the field).

In my paltry attempt to remember God's direct hand in the tipping points and miracles of my life, I am filled with the absolute witness, confirmed by the Holy Spirit, of His interest in my mission on earth.

Indeed, it is humbling and marvelous for someone as nothing as me to think that His hand has been a part of my existence, even before I could ever remember.  How grateful I am for recognizing the "Tipping Points" and "Miracles" that have happened in my life this far!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

October 2011 General Conference Meme

This is what's going on at Diapers and Divinity, so I decided to join in.  You can, too!!

First of all, I wanted to know, what in tarnation is a meme?  Now that I've got the idea of what a meme is, here are my thoughts on this weekend's General Conference!

1. Who were your three favorite speakers?
     Do I really have to pick only three?  I think I'll go with four :)

President Boyd K. Packer - I remember a talk he gave along these lines in October 1989.  It was a great reminder and comfort to me.

Neil L. Anderson - With a family of nine children we frequently get the question "Are these all yours?"  We had a good laugh together when we heard Elder Anderson say that.  And believe me, in a family of 11, life's no picnic!

Carl B. Cook - Not only did his message go straight to my heart, I was so awed by his humility.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland  - I admit, I watched the priesthood session Saturday night after my priesthood holders came home!  This was an INCREDIBLE talk!

2. Which talk spoke to you the most?
    The talk by Elder V. Devn Cornish on prayer.  Oh how I needed that this weekend!

3. What was your favorite Hymn and why did it move you?
     I Am A Child of God!
First, because who can hear that hymn without being moved to emotion because of the doctrine taught and secondly, because every single one of my children sang along with the choir.  It was a heavenly few moments in our General Conference Weekend home. (Not that we have a "weekend" home, just that our home was a place for General Conference this weekend.)
4. Which speaker was the best dressed? (Come on, we can have a little fun.)
WOW!  What incredible display of colorful ties! Red, being the most dominant color, with blue ties in second and black in third.  Elder Randall K. Bennett wore a sweet gold and brown tie. and President Uchtdorf's yellow tie on Sunday was pretty styling as well.

5. Were there any topics that you felt like were repeated often? Any conference “themes”?
     My children took note that  2 Nephi 32:3 and 2 Timothy 4:12 were scriptures that were repeated over and over again - even in priesthood session!
   
6. Share a few of your favorite quotes from any of the talks (paraphrasing is fine).
     Be Loyal to the Royal Within You
     Don't just say and pray
     The Savior has lifeboats for everyone!    
7. Name something(s) that made you smile or laugh during conference.
     President Monson's happy, surprising "Hello!"
8. Was there any evidence that your children paid attention?
     Ha Ha.  I hope my oldest was listening as he was drawing intently on a piece of paper.  The funny thing was between the Saturday morning and afternoon sessions of Conference one of my boys had a friend from our ward over to play.  Upon entering oue home, our boys asked him, "Hey, did you like Conference?"  "Umm, I didn't listen," he replied.  Ten minutes before the afternoon session began I said him, "You are more than welcome to stay and watch Conference with us."  He looked at me and said, "Uh, could I go home now?"  While our family room wasn't the most reverent place to listen to General Conference, I was pleased that my children opted to do so!

9. What doctrine did you learn as you listened to the choir(s) sing?
     God lives!  Jesus is the Christ!  I am happy and grateful to be alive!

10. Did the music enhance your General Conference experience? How?
     I loved having our whole family sing along with the congregation even if we were a little bit lot off key.

11. What are some of your post-conference goals?
     1) Dedicate more family scripture time and personal time to scripture memorization!
     2) Open my mouth and share my love of the gospel.
     3) Enjoy a juicy piece of fried chicken!

Sunday Afternoon Session of General Conference in Six Words

Truth seeker. Gospel teacher. Covenant keeper.

What six words describe what you learned during the Sunday afternoon session of General Conference??

Sunday Morning Session of General Conference in Six Words

Conversion = Death of all things unrighteous


What six words describe what you learned during the Sunday morning session of General Conference??

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Priesthood Session of General Conference in Six Words (times four)

Because I didn't personally attend the priesthood session, here are four insights from the priesthood holders in our family who did:


Husband:
Worthy males needed for priesthood service!

14 year old:
Esteem yourself highly as an LDS!


12 year old:
You CAN repent of your sins.

12 year old:
Put the priesthood power to work!

What six words describe what you (or your husband) learned during the priesthood session of general conference??

Saturday Afternoon Session of General Conference in Six Words

Hint: It's Better to Look Up!

What six words describe what you learned during the Saturday Afternoon Session of General Conference??

Saturday Morning Session of General Conference in Six Words

"Hello!" Memorize scriptures. God hearts me.

What six words describe what you learned during the Saturday morning session of General Conference??

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tidbit Tuesday - Miracles

"Dew settles without the fanfare of thunder or the patter of falling rain yet our wet feet in the morning still tell us there is something there.  Sometimes miracles are like that.  There is no overwhelming proof, but deep inside we know."

-Chris and Ted Stewart
from Seven Miracles that Saved America

Friday, September 23, 2011

Fathers Are Responsible to Provide the Necessities of Life

For the longest time, I had this very twisted notion stuck in my skull (you know, like David's rock planted dead center in Goliath's forehead) that in order for my husband to obey The Proclamation, he would need to provide our family with $$$,$$$ (although a very high $$,$$$ with 9's would also be acceptable) which, in turn, would allow me to most successfully fulfill my part of The Proclamation, which is to nourish our children.

Um, hasn't happened yet.

Not the $$$,$$$ or the $$,$$$$ with just one nine in the very front.

So, since my head wasn't making money sense of what "By divine design, fathers are  . . . responsible to provide the necessities of life" meant, I decided to look in a book - The Dictionario.

And what did I learn?

The word provide comes from the Latin word:  providere (pro, - before + videre  -to see).  It means:

1: to take precautionary measures

2: to make preparation to meet a need

And here's what else I learned!

There is NOTHING (nada, zippo, zilch) in the definition that says provide= $$$,$$$ or $$,$$$ with a fat, juicy nine leading the way. (If you see it, point it out to me, because that is how thick my skull is sometimes).

Which means after years of looking all around me and thinking I knew what "provide" meant, I've learned two things.

1) As my husband (wonderful, kind, sweet husband) continues to do his best in righteously providing for our family financially and physically and spiritually and emotionally, then HE IS obeying his end of the deal as taking responsibilty as a father

and 2) I am SO not excused from doing my part to nurture our children just because we do not have the $$$,$$$ (a.k.a. luxuries of life).

Because (ahem), n.e.c.e.s.s.i.t.i.e.s. are things that are required to live.  You know, stuff like food, clothing, shelter, fuel.

And last I checked, I'm living.

And so are my husband and our nine kids.

And we've got food in our pantry and milk in the fridge.

And we've never, ever walked out of our house naked.

And this morning I got all all our kidlings to school  - on time!!
Boy, am I ever thankful for spiritual brain surgery!!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Heed and Counsel


An ancient prophet has given us prophetic insight as to why a people - his "family" - were completely destroyed.

Though I could be wrong - because I am not versed in history or humanities or psychology - I believe the rise and fall of a society may, in great part, depends on the treatment and regard given to women and children.

 And, at least for me, prophets trump university classes, professors, research stats and Phd's.

One of the atrocious scenes described by Mormon, is his observance of the Lamanites in their degenerate and depraved (remember that they were considered "the enemy"), taking Nephite families as prisoners and then slaying the "husbands and fathers of those women and children," and then feeding "the women upon the flesh of their husbands and the children upon the flesh of their fathers" (Moroni 9:8).

I don't even want to imagine . . .

Because I have thought nothing could be worse than that. 

But Mormon goes further, telling his son Moroni, "And notwithstanding this great abomination of the Lamanites, it doth not exceed that of our people . . . For behold, many of the daughters of the Lamanites have they taken prisoner; and after depriving them of that which was most dear and precious above all things, which is chastity and virtue - . . . they did murder them in the most cruel manner, torturing their bodies even unto death . . . and they do it for a token of bravery" (Moroni 9:9-10).

And boy, I've been thinking about the symbolism of how our society "slays" the husbands and fathers of so many women and children and how women and children find reason to feed upon their flesh.

And how daughters of Heavenly Father are taken (or give themselves) "prisoner" and are deprived of "that which is most dear and precious above all things, which is chastity and virtue."

And how bodies are "self-tortured" and minipulated, becoming symbols of art or lifestyle or rebellion.

Oh, how the God of Heaven and Earth must weep.

Gratefully, the prophet Mormon (unlike news stories that fail to give hope at the scene of the horrific and appalling), does provide the comfort and the guidance of how to stand above such a wicked generation.

"Be faithful in Christ," he says.

"And may not the things which I have written grieve thee, to weigh thee down to death; but may Christ lift thee up, . . . and the hope of His glory and of eternal life, rest in your mind forever.

"And may the grace of God the Father, whose throne is high in the heavens, and our Lord Jesus Christ, who sitteth on the right hand of His power, until all things shall become subject unto Him, be and abide with you forever" (Moroni 10:25-26).

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Guest Post

Today I am a guest blogger over at Chocolate On My Cranium for the this year's Celebrate Family.

Truth be told, I was very surprised to be asked to guest blog.

Me?!?!

But I'm always grateful to share my feelings about The Family: A Proclamation to the World.

And who doesn't like chocolate or Chocolate. . . . :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tidbit Tuesday - Self-Identity

"Neither professions nor possessions should define identity or self-worth. The Savior, for example, was a humble carpenter, but that hardly defined His life."

-Lynn G. Robbins

Monday, September 19, 2011

Feeling A Little Abish

I identify with Abish.

Of course, my interpretation of her story may be all wrong, but let me tell you: there have been many times I have found myself in a situation thinking,
"I'm sure this is exactly how Abish felt!!"

You remember Abish, a "Lamanitish woman."

Servant to the Lamanite Queen who was the wife of King Lamoni.


And you remember what happened when "all the servant of King Lamoni had fallen to the earth, and also her mistress, the queen and the king." Abish thought that it would be the perfect opportunity to make it "known unto the people what had happened to them" (Alma 19:17).

A missionary effort.

A testimony builder.

Why not?  It was the power of God that had come over this people.  And Abish knew of His power (Alma 19:16).

So off she went, "making it known unto the people what had happened among them, that by beholding this scene it would cause them to believe in the power of God."

Her desire was to gather together the people and have a spiritual, fireside-like experience. 

But kumbaya it was not.

Instead, the multitudes gathered and contention - "exceedingly sharp contention" - ensued.

So much so that when Abish saw and heard the clamor and the din she was "exceedingly sorrowful, even unto tears" (Alma 19:28).

To tears!

And that is were I identify with Abish.

For because there have been many times I have felt like my righteous desires had became the cause for mild debate, or warm conflict, or brooding contention.

Really.

And when those moments occur I am grateful that I am not alone.

Because there is Abish, the Lamanitish woman, who's been there.  Done that.

Not that it make me feel any better, but it gets me through another righteous desire gone south.

Please tell me I'm not alone.


Come Into My Parlor . . .


My son found THIS in our dining area last night.

Yes, I know it's blurry.

BUT WOULD YOU GET ANY CLOSER??????

Monday, September 12, 2011

From a Cheer to a Mission Statement




My Family History claim to fame is that we keep a Family Home Evening Journal.

I'm not only not crafty, but I don't even frequent craft stores or boutiques enough to know how to find myself a cutesy Family Home Evening hangy-uppy-thingy to remind us who's got what and what's got who each Monday Night.

But we keep a journal.

We started the FHE Journal on August 4, 2002.  But before we even started a journal we had a family cheer.

Mind you, our children in 2002 numbered only five sons.  Our oldest was five and our youngest was nine months. 

One Family Home Evening we were talking about the Stripling Warriors.  And let me tell you, my boys were eating it up!  Man, they loved listening about those Lamanite sons.  So that night my husband decided to tank up the testosterone levels and make up a cheer to remind our boys of those Stripling Sons.  The cheer went like this: "Hurrah!  Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!  We are the Stripling Warrior Joneses!"

It was an instant hit.  And from that Monday on, that cheer became part of our weekly Family Home Evenings.

Fast Forward to January 2010.

My husband and I decided that our family was now a little bigger (seven sons and one daughter) and a little bit older (our oldest was now 12 and our youngest 4), we needed to "move up" and create a family mission statement.

We asked each of our children what they thought would be important to remember as a family.  We incorporated each idea and created our Family Mission Statement, which we repeat each Monday evening for Family Home Evening, after a rousing Family Cheer (the children made sure we didn't get rid of that)!

Our Mission Statement is:
* I am a child of God.
* I am true to God at all times, and in all things, and in all places.
* I keep the commandments.
* When I make a mistake, I repent.
* As family members, we love one another and serve one another.
* We will live with Him someday.

I am sure as our children continue to grow and mature (because now we have nine!), that Mission Statement will see some more changes and adjustments.  For now, though, it is a reminder to each member of our family what is expected of us individually and collectively.

For ultimately, each one of us want to live with Him someday!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Why I Scrape Burnt Toast and Other Things I Thought I'd Never Do

I admit, I scrape my burnt toast.  But I didn't always.

Like when I was a teenager.

I was a bit of a toast snob back then.

Okay, a BIG toast snob.

For because I would shake my head and chuckle when I would watch my mother scrape, scrape, scrape that black crust off her toasted bread.

Because when I burned toast back then, I simply tossed it in the garbage. And started toasting all over.

Now, I'm a mom of NINE kids (Eight who currently eat toast. The ninth is trying to work her way up to rice cereal). And I don't know if anyone has visited the grocery store lately, but the price of food is interfering with saving for college.

And now, I TOTALLY understand why my mom still scrapes her burnt toast.

* * *

My favorite breakfast in high school was cold, day old pizza with an icy, cold glass of milk.

Talk about refreshing. And a breakfast meal with all the necessary food groups: grains, dairy, vegetable, meat.

And the foods I had a hard time eating? Watermelon, strawberries, tomatoes, and cooked onions.

Blech.

"You may not always like pizza for breakfast. And you may start liking everything you hate," my dad would tease.

Bah-ha-ha. Not my terrific, teenage tastebuds.

Umm, guess who was right?!

* * *
Growing up, our family didn't have a lot of money.

My dad worked really hard providing for our family. My mom stayed home and did everything she could to extend his meager earnings the best she could by bottling fruits, making bread, sewing clothes.

While I didn't go without, my obvious "lack" was juxtaposed with friends who lived in homes with walk-in fridges, saunas, game and theatre rooms and swimming pools in their houses. (And that was over 30 years ago!)

So being young and naive (and obviously not in my parent's situation), I didn't quite understand why my mom and dad would have to say repitious, irksome phrases like,

"We can't afford to get you those jeans (those jeans happened to be 501's)" or "You don't need a Sony Walkman. You have a clock radio (a CLOCK radio?!?!)" or "We sure wish we had enough money to put you into gymnastics . . . but sorry, we don't."

And more often than I wanted to admit, my mother would always put on a sweet, humble smile and reply to my complaints, "We may be poor in money, but we are rich in spirit. We have the gospel of Jesus Christ."

I got SO irked when I heard those words because what they meant to a teenager was "WE ARE POOR!"

And I vowed a vow that I would never ever, not in a million, billion, trillion years say those irritating words of obvious financial poverty to my children.

Let me just say right here, right now, just for the record, I've put on A LOT of poundage over the years for eating. my. words.

And the phrase that has made me the most fat - the one I have used more often when my children ask me why we don't have this or why we don't have that- is "Children, we may be poor in money, but we are rich in spirit. We have the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! Woo Hoo."

(Hopefully you noted that I've added a little to my mother's phrase. So you can see why I've gained all that "never-say-never" weight).

I admit that it's funny how I use those words my mother used with me. The only difference is, now I know exactly how she felt when she did.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Beginning With Obedience

I think is is ABSOLUTELY amazing that First Nephi is right where it is!

I think about how many times I have started and restarted, and read and reread the Book of Mormon. And being a sequential studier that I am, I always start at. the. beginning.
 
Which would mean, technically, the book I have read most often in the Book of Mormon is, First Nephi.

And what would be the message of First (and Second) Nephi? Here is what Nephi teach by example:
  • Go and do the things the Lord commands, for He will provide the way (1 Nephi 3:7).

  • As they Lord lives and as we live, we will accomplish the Lord's commands (1 Nephi 3:15-16)

  • Be faithful in keeping in keeping the commandments of the Lord (1 Nephi 4:1-3)

  • Obey the voice of the Spirit (1 Nephi 4:17-18)

  • Be diligent in keeping the Lord's commandments (1 Nephi 4:34)

  • The Lord is able to do all things so let us be faithful to Him (1 Nephi 7:12-13)

  • The Lord know all things and has all power, and He will prepare a way for us to accomplish the fulfilling of His words (1 Nephi 9:6)

  • If we keep the commandments, God will nourish us, strengthen us and provide us with the means to obey His commandments (1 Nephi 17:3)

  • When we keep God's commandments, our obedience is an example to others. (1 Nephi 17:15)

  • If God commands us to do all things, we could do them (1 Nephi 17:50)

  • Being saved at the last day = being obedient + enduring to the end (1 Nephi 22:31)

  • Sometimes obedience requires doing things we do not completely understand (2 Nephi 5:30-31)

  • Being obedient doesn't necessarily mean it is easy (2 Nephi 33:11)

  • And the final words recorded by Nephi: "For thus hath the Lord commanded me, and I must obey." (2 Nephi 33:15)

Which brings me back to my first thought of why First and Second Nephi are where they are.

Think if the Book of Mormon began chronologically. That would put the Book of Ether at the very beginning of the Book of Mormon.

Which would mean the story I would read and reread, start and restart the most would be the one of the Jaredite people whom, because of wickedness and abomination and the refusal to repent, became destroyed and extinct.

But the Book of Ether is not what the Lord wants to be our beginning (over and over) lessons as we open "another testament of Jesus Christ."

He wants us to learn, through Nephi, that obedience is the first law of heaven.

And it is something I am learning and relearning everytime I begin at the very beginning of the Book of Mormon.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tidbit Tuesday - Our Family is His Family

For behold,
this is my work
And
My glory
to brIng
to pass the immortaL-
itY
and eternal life of man.

(Moses 1:39)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Family Home Evening - Obedience

I don't know about anyone else's family, but we have our fair share of disobedience in this growing family of ours. So, to help us out, we dedicated the month of August to memorize, from Preach My Gospel, the following Christlike attribute on obedience - tweaked just a little to "liken it" unto our family.

As a member of my family, I am expected to keep the commandments willingly, to obey family rules, and to follow the counsel of my parents. Obedience is the first law of heaven. It is an act of faith. I may sometimes be required to do things I do not completely understand. As I obey, I increase in faith, knowlege, wisdom, testimony, protection and freedom. I will strive to be obedient to the Lord, the living prophet and my parents.

So tonight for Family Home Evening, after reciting it together as a family, we read the story of Naaman found in 2 Kings 5:1-14 and discussed how that applies to obedience. And how that typs of obedience applies to our family.

And then we watched this wonderful video (twice!!) because it not only pulled all of our hard memorization efforts together, but it really captured the attention of our younger children as we wrapped up our month long learning on obedience.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

What My 11 Year Old Taught Me Today

So as we were preparing our Sunday dinner my eleven year old made a dinner request.

Son: "Mom, can we have potatoes today?"

Me: "I think so.  I just need to see how many potatoes we have."

Son: "I really want mashed potatoes, with gravy."

Me (after checking on the potatoes): "Oh honey, we don't have enough potatoes to make mashed potatoes."

Son: "Okay.  I'm going to go look in the basement pantry to see if there is another bag."

Me: "Nope.  We don't have any potatoes in the pantry."

Son: "Mom!  Why did you say that?  What you needed to say was, 'Why don't you go check to see if there are potatoes in the pantry' even if you know there are no potatoes in the pantry.  At least that will give me hope . . ."

And then he added with a big, HUGE smile, "and maybe then, potatoes will appear in the pantry because of my faith."

Sweet boy.

Wonderful lesson for me.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Sixth Day of First Grade

Today is my daughter's sixth day of first grade.

I know, because she reminds me each and every morning how many days of first grade she has already attended.

Mostly because, this last week has been the sum of all her six year old fears: A brand new school. New faces. And a full day (seven full hours) without her Mom.

We've said countless, quiet prayers on the way to school, while waiting at school, and even at her desk.

We've prayed as a family.

And her sweet older brothers have done everything to cheer her up and cheer her on.

But even still, I have literally left her sobbing at her desk, in her chair, in that happy little first grade classroom.

Which has made me think that maybe, just maybe, those newborn babies who can't stop all their crying even after they're fed, even after they're changed, and even when they're being loved, maybe they're crying because of how long they've been away from Father and Mother in Heaven.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tidbit Tuesday - Prayer

"People pray for you whom you don't even know."

-Mary Ellen Edmunds

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Especially for Big Families

Today in my grateful heart I thanked the Lord for watermelons.  Because I think the Lord made watermelons especially for large numbered families!! 

What other fruit can feed the masses?

(Umm, Zucchinis are vegetables . . .)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

GCBC - Tithing

I am part of a very inclusive GeneralConference Book Club (GCBC) that meets online weekly to discuss a General Conference talk from the most recent Conference.  Come along and join us!  We would love it! 
This week we were to study Elder Carl B. Pratt's talk from April Conference.  Let me share what I learned.
1) I have never, ever heard anyone share disappointment when they have chosen to obey the Law of Tithing. Whenever I have been in a lesson or discussion when tithing has been the subject, story after miracle story is told of how faith in paying 10% opened the windows of heaven.  And it is within those stories of faith and miracles that families share their experiences and ultimately strengthening their testimonies of paying a full and honest tithe.


2) Elder Pratt testifies, "Paying tithing is NOT a matter of money, really; it is a matter of faith."  In Preach My Gospel, it states, in part, about the Christlike attribute of obedience, "Obedience is the first law of heaven. It is an act of faith."  When I put these two statements together, my heart is able to understand that paying tithing is another way for me to show the Lord my obedience a.k.a. my desire to live with Him again.


3) I would never want to be accused of being a robber. A robber is a thief, a liar, and a cheat. Would I want the Savior to judge me as a robber? He will if I do not keep the Law of Tithing. And thanks to Jacob, we all know where liars go!!


4) AMAZING things happen when I am being taught "under the influence of the Spirit."   This time it occurred while I listened to Elder Pratt's talk. As I felt of his deep testimony of tithing, these words resonated within me and the Spirit began to teach: "[God] fulfills His promises, and if we faithfully pay our tithing, we will not lack for the necessities of life, but He does not promise us wealth.  Money and bank accounts are not His richest blessings."  It was in that moment that the Spirit began to expound the many different blessings - spiritual blessings, mostly - I have received because of my faithful payment of tithes and offerings.  Really?  All those gifts have come because of paying tithing?  Honestly, I would have never drawn that connection! But today while listening, the Spirit drew those lines for me!


5) Finally, I cannot end this post without sharing a personal story that I have told and retold my the children whenever we have opportunity to speak about the Law of Tithing.


It was a several months or so after my husband and I were married and, being the poor, newly-married couple that we were, we faced one of our first financial decisions.  We could either pay our tithing and fast offerings OR go buy groceries.  We chose to pay our tithes and offerings and figured we could eat the unlabeled cans from the wedding shower until the next pay day.  The very next day, a Monday, a gentleman came into my work and handed me an envelope.  He apologized that he had not been able to attend our wedding reception months earlier.  He wished me well and left the office.  I opened the envelope.  Tucked neatly inside was a gift card to a GROCERY STORE for the exact. same. amount. we had paid in tithing. From that moment on, my husband and I have never doubted the Lord's ability to keep His promise if we obey His commands.  I can humbly and gratefully say, tithing is one and only area in which we are perfect.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Seeing What Nephi Saw

So I have made another personal commitment to read the Book of Mormon in Spanish. I know, I know, I started before and actually had the Spirit teach me some incredible things, but I ended up going back to my English scriptures because I just did.

And my husband didn't even say a word about it as he just keeps studying his Spanish scriptures as he has been doing for the last 20 years!!!

So last night, as I was going along reading 1 Nephi 11 - 14 (in Spanish, mind you), I was reminded of something I was taught many years ago about these chapters and how to understand them a little more (at least it helped for me).  So I thought I would share.

When I read 1 Nephi 11, I remind myself that this is what the "fruit" or Jesus Christ looks like to the Jews.  1 Nephi 12 is what the fruit looks like to the Nephites.  And  1 Nephi 13 and 1 Nephi 14 is what the fruit looks like to us.

* * *

Here is something that I learned while studying in Spanish. 1 Nephi 11:22-23 in Spanish, in part, reads like this:

El amor de Dios . . . se derrama ampliamente en el corazón . . . Sí, y el de mayor gozo para el alma.

Literally translated it would read something like this:

The love of God pours out extensively in the heart . . . yes, and it is the greatest joy for the soul.

Which made me think about God's love in my life.

Of all the places that He could reach my reaching it is through my heart.

When I allow His love to fill my heart it is then that my soul becomes a generator of joy, of peace, and other Christlike attributes.

Because of the price the Savior has already paid for my soul, I wonder why I don't open my heart even wider to be filled with His love.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Family of Eleven

Okey dokey, so I decided to start another blog that includes (drum roll, please) - - -

Every. member. of. our. family. 

It's a long stretch, I know.  And it will probably fizzle right out before it even gains any speed, but hey, anything is worth a try, a cry and a good hardy har har.

The blog is still under heavy-duty construction, but you can certainly check us out HERE and let us know what you think. . .

Or maybe not.

Things You Know . . .

You know your daughter is growing up when she doesn't want to sit in her car seat anymore. . .



When she recognizes that when you set foot with her in her room that it is time for bed . . .



When she gets around the family roon faster than you can . . .



When she gets all giddy when Daddy comes home . . .



You know your daughter is growing up when all she wants is a social life.




AGH!  She's only four months old!!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tidbit Tuesday - Beware!

"We should look upon this body as something that shall endure in the resurrected state . . . Be not afraid of soiling its hands; be not afraid of scars that may come to it won in earnest effort, or in earnest fight, but be aware of scars that disfigure, that have come to you in places where you ought not have gone, that have befallen you in unworthy undertakings; beware of the wounds of battles in which you have been fighting on the wrong side."

-James E. Talmage
Conference Report, Oct 1913, 117

Monday, August 22, 2011

Father's Blessings

For Family Home Evening we had the opportunity to have father's blessings pronounced upon our children as a new school year begins this week.

I am just beginning to understand that this is a BIG, HUGE deal!

For because where I grew up in a home where we just knew that a priesthood blessing from my Dad was always in order at the beginning of every school year. But my husband did not.

In fact, he did not receive one father's blessing for school - ever.

He had never heard of that until we got married, began our little quiver of children and it was time for our oldest to head off to the scary world of kindergarten.

And it was a very new thing for my husband to even think about.

And it was a very good thing for my husband to do.

But tonight, as my husband shared with out children that he never ever had a father's blessing given to him and my sweet children, feeling so sympathetic toward him, I began to think of all the wonderful families I know that for one reason or another don't have that same opportunity.

And while my heart  swelled with immense gratitude for priesthood blessings, it was also filled with a deep sense of longing to fill the void in all those mothers who hope for a blessing for their children, and for all those children who don't even know what they are missing.

But I am sure God is mindful, for He is the Father of all Blessings.

Family Home Evening - Anger

This is a Family Home Evening lesson we had quite a while ago . . . thought I'd share.

General Conference Talk: President Monson’s October 2009 General Priesthood Talk: School Thy Feelings, O My Brother.

Find and listen HERE to the story President Monson told about the husband who became so angry and caused brain damage to his young son.

We talked how anger affects our family.

We used baking soda as a representation of our anger used negatively. We went around the table and each member of the family spooned some soda into a small bowl, telling everyone when he/she feels angry and what they normally do to vent their anger.

We then used flour as a representation of our anger when disciplined with the Spirit. We went around again and as we placed a spoonful of flour in the bowl talked of alternative actions we could take when we become angry.

Then, we took vinegar, representing us, and poured it into the bowls. We learned that when anger is subsided by decisions made under the influence of the Spirit, it is kept safely within.

However, when anger is used without control, it flows out, effecting all within its power . . . and it stinks!!

Finally, we read Moroni 7:33: "And Christ hath said: If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me."

We took the challenge to use our faith in Christ to do what He asked asked us NOT to do - to have contention among us (see 3 Nephi 11:29-31).

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Very Random Sunday Thoughts

You know the scripture, "If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear." I'm seriously thinking it was referring specifically to bedtime and school.

Lack of a bedtime schedule, that is, and the beginning of school.

AGH!

School starts this week and all of my parental attempts at trying to get my children to go to s.l.e.e.p on time has been absolutely, positively fruitless.

So come Wednesday morning, when day dawn is breaking, that will be the sum of all my fears.

* * *

There's something to be said about remembering.

For because I find that I am more inclined to hang on remembering the bad and easily forget to remember the good.

I'm figuring it has to do with the "natural [wo]man" in me.

And in order to put off that natural woman I must find ways to remember the good.

For me, writing down the good is how I preserve what I need to remember.

The other part is reading (and rereading) what I have written so I will remember.

* * *

Because I just want to mention: Bed time at our home is like herding cats!

And those darn cats of mine have not gone to sleep yet.

Boy, I wish they were dogs.

Because you can at least send dogs to obedience school. . .

Aww, that's what we're doing this week, aren't we?

Yup, back to my fears . . .

* * *

Happy Birthday, dear President Monson!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Time Management Part II

So I'm learning more about Time Managment.

This time my learning took place in the temple.

Now I can't say this of all temples, but I will say it of the temple I attend: There are NO clocks in any of the ordinances room!

Not one.

I know.

Because when I looked all around to find the time, I came up short . . .

Which immediately filled my brain with this counsel given by Elder Richard G. Scott:


"Remove your watch when you enter a house of the Lord."


Whoa, Nelly! Watch = Clock

For because watching the clock means a whole lot of rush, rush, rush, go, go, go, do, do, do, gone, gone, gone, and not enough listening and learning and worshipping.

Which listening and learning and worshipping is what I am supposed to be doing in the temple - the whole "staying still" so I can see the salvation of the Lord.

Because watching a clock means being on my schedule, not His!

And there I was, in the temple, feeling so pleased I had learned something more about God's time.

But later on that very evening - that! very! evening! - I found this (even better) explanation in the Doctrine and Covenants as to why I have been asked to remove my watch when I enter a house of the Lord . . .

"Satan is bound and time is no longer."
(Doctrine and Covenants 84:100)

Hello bright lightbulb above my head!

Satan. is .BOUND. to. TIME.

And because he is bound to time, his time is running out. And he knows it.

And in order for his influence NOT to be felt in the one place on earth that is God's House, I have been asked to remove one of Satan's influences - my watch.

And this time, instead of feeling so pleased for learning, I was humbly grateful for God's tender love in teaching me more about His time and His ways.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tidbit Tuesday - Light and Darkness

Darkness is not the absence of light.
It is a source of light.
* * *
"Light and Truth forsake the evil one"
Doctrine and Covenants 93:37

Monday, August 15, 2011

Family Home Evening - Our Family is Like a Rope

Tonight was a "hands-on" FHE using the April 2011 General Conference Talk from Elder Richard J. Maynes.

Supplies: Yarn, Scissors, Empty toilet paper roll or paper towel roll, Wooden spoon

To begin, we took the time to have each child choose and measure out one piece of yarn. Each measured about 15-20 feet. We took time to have each child measure their piece with the child that went before.

Then, we asked them (okay, pleaded with them and begged them) to hold their piece of yarn and NOT tangle it up while we listened to part of Elder Maynes's talk. While listening to the talk, we asked our children to ask themselves "Why would Mom and Dad give me a piece of yarn to hold while listening to a Conference Talk?"

The part we focused on begins at the 8:00 minute mark.



After Elder Maynes's story, we had a short discussion about a rope and the strength of our family.

Then we went outside. Took everyone's piece of yard and tied on end of it all together and then tied it around the basketball hoop.

Holding the yarn taut, we slipped the yarn through the empty toilet paper roll and tied the other end to the middle of the handle of the wooden spoon.

Pulling the yarns, we each took turns twisting the yarn in the SAME direction while another person held the toilet paper roll (it made the twisting easier).

After twisting the yarns very, very tight, one person found the middle and held it taut while another person took the wooden spoon end to the other end that was tied to the basketball pole.

Still holding the yarn taut, the person in the "middle" is now on the other end. As he slowly let go, the yarn began to twist together, forming a rope.

Here is our end result:




So, if by chance you have less than 11 people in your family (ha ha), you may want to try two or more strings of yarn per person to make a rope with sizeable thickness.

After our closing prayer, we decided to hang our Family Rope in our Family Room as a reminder that each of us matters in our family and that all of us need to do our part.

Friday, August 12, 2011

My Children Are Like . . .

My children are like a band.
A rock band.
An extremely loud, heavy metal rock band, where everyone wants to be the lead singer at. the. same. time.
And everyday is a world(wind) tour.
And bedtime is a nightmare.
Honestly.
Have you ever tried putting a rock band to bed??

My parents are like water and oil.
My mom is the water. My dad is the oil.
Seldom are those two suspended together at the same.
And if they are, it lasts for about ummmm, this ----------- long.
But it works for them.
It will be 44 years (forty-four years!!!!) this year!

My husband is like an Uno wildcard.
He's all colors for me.
And there are times he makes me Draw Four. FOUR!
Truth be told, I am not. very. happy. about it when he does.
No, not happy at all.
And I put up one big, stinky fight.
But in the end, both of us come out Numero Uno.

Our landlady is like an angel.
I know heaven is watching over us because of her!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Kid History - Episode 1

Because all of us have or know kids who tell the story from their own eyes . . .

This is my children's FAVORITE Episode.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Getting a Tattoo

Yesterday, while at the pool, my 11 year-old son and I were quite aware of the bevy of tattoos that were parading around. So I decided to try on the next question just for size:

"So," I baited nonchalantly, "what would you think if I got myself a tattoo?"

He turned his head funny at me, scrunched up his extremely tanned nose, looked down at me through his spectacles and with only one, swift sweep of his head, gestured in the negative.

"Dude," I justified. "It will be super cool.  Trust me!  My tattoo will say 'Follow the Prophet.'"

That eked a smile out of him for just a second. Then he casually turned his head and demurely replied "Good one Mom, but that wouldn't be following the prophet now, would it?"

Boo-Yah.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tidbit Tuesday - Petitioning in Prayer

"Petitioning in prayer has taught me, again and again, that the vault of heaven with all its blessings is to be opened only by a combination lock. One tumbler falls when there is faith, a second when there is personal righteousness; the third and final tumbler falls only when what is sought is, in God’s judgment—not ours—right for us. Sometimes we pound on the vault door for something we want very much and wonder why the door does not open. We would be very spoiled children if that vault door opened any more easily than it does. I can tell, looking back, that God truly loves me by inventorying the petitions He has refused to grant me. Our rejected petitions tell us much about ourselves but also much about our flawless Father."

-Neal A. Maxwell
New Era, Apr 1978