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.


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.
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?"


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

Monday, August 8, 2011

Time Management

So I've been home from Trek for a week now.

And I miss it.

Is that peculiar or what?!

Okay, so I'm not necessarily missing all the walking or the hot days or cold nights (we woke up one morning with frost on our bags) or the stinky porta-potties . . .

But there is something incredibly peaceful about not being slave to a clock.

Because, as we all know, most Treks and the like are very rarely, if ever, on schedule.

And I've been thinking that maybe that is one of the keys to happiness.

One of the mysteries of heaven, even.

One of the reasons that time is not numbered by God.

One of the many, infinite reasons why He is so happy.

Because going by man's clock is rush, rush, rush, go, go, go, do, do, do, gone, gone, gone.

But God's timing - His eternal clock - takes into consideration -

every wrong turn;

the hole in the middle . .  and the ones on the right and the ones on the left;

the aching, blistered feet that slow, and stop, and rest;

being overloaded and overwhelmed;

food overdone or undercooked;

the majesty of a sunrise;

the grandeur of a sunset;

the waiting,

the sorrow,

going another extra mile, when you thought you just did;

and pulling up the hardest hill without the men.

And miraculously, instead of being drained with rush, rush, rush, go, go, go, do, do, do, gone, gone, gone,

We "stand still, with the utmost assurance, [seeing] the salvation of God."

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Drinking and Swallowing

Here is what I discovered while studying our Gospel Doctrine lesson a few weeks ago.

Matthew 26:39
And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and aprayed, saying, O my bFather, if it be possible, let this ccup pass from me: nevertheless not as I dwill, but as ethou fwilt.

Mosiah 15:7
Yea, even so he shall be led, acrucified, and slain, the bflesh becoming subject even unto death, the cwill of the Son being swallowed up in the will of the Father.

I wanted to connect the phrases "let this cup pass from me" and "the will of the Son being swallowed up in the will of the Father."

Emphasis on CUP and SWALLOWED.

Here is what I found when I went to this link here: Blue Letter Bible
First of all, here is the word swallow in Greek:  καταπίνω

It comes from the root words: kata and pino.

Kata means down from or through out.

Pino meaning to drink.

katapino, in effect, means to drink or swallow down, to devour or destroy

Swallowing is what I should do with my pride. 

It is what Christ did in order to submit to God's will.

When I do the same I destroy that which hinders me from partaking of the divine nature.

His divine nature.

And ultimately His divine love.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tidbit Tuesday - Forgiveness Flour

When I went to the door, at the whisper of knocking,
I saw Simeon Gantner's daughter, Kathleen, standing
There, in her shawl and her shame, sent to ask
"Forgiveness Flour" for her bread. "Forgiveness Flour,"
We call it in our corner. If one has erred, one
Is sent to ask for flour of his neighbors. If they loan it
To him, that means he can stay, but if they refuse, he had
Best take himself off. I looked at Kathleen . . .
What a jewel of a daughter, though not much like her
Father, more's the pity. "I'll give you flour," I
Said, and went to measure it. Measuring was the rub.
If I gave too much, neighbors would think I made sin
Easy, but if I gave too little, they would label me
"Close." While I stood measuring, Joel, my husband
Came in from the mill, a great bag of flour on his
Shoulder, and seeing her there, shrinking in the
Doorway, he tossed the bag at her feet. "Here, take
All of it." And so she had flour for many loaves,
While I stood measuring.

- Marguerite Stewart

Monday, August 1, 2011

And It Came to Pass . . .

For the last eleven months my husband and I have been part of a Stake Committee to help plan and carry out a pioneer Trek.  Our responsibilityhas been to train the couples who were called to be the Ma's and Pa's.

During the past four weeks we have had to rearrange our priorty list to get everything squared away for 16 Ma's and Pa's who were absolutely amazing in leading their families.

And the beginning of last week was filled with enough run-around details that thankfully, were finished before I ran out of time, to get Trek things together for my husband and me - and three of our boys who were also able to attend.

All I can say is - Trek was one. incredible. experience.

It was e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. I had expected it to be - and much, much more.

And like everything good (and everything bad) - it came to pass.

I'll be forever grateful for the awesome journey.