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.


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.


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.


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.


"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
My glory
to brIng
to pass the immortaL-
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.