Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tidbit Tuesday - We Are A Happy Family (really!)

"You call this a happy family? Why did we have to have all these kids?"

-George Bailey
It's a Wonderful Life

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Uh, I Didn't Know

Many years ago, and I mean many years ago when I had only five boys who still thought hot cereal for breakfast was all that . . . a woman, who had six grown, married sons of her own told me that when her boys were teenagers she would fix 10 pounds of potatoes for dinner along with the rest of the meal. Not minutes after putting the last, clean dish away, her sons would ask what else there was to eat.

"Yeah, I'll bet," I remember giggling, thinking I knew what this experienced mom meant. . .

Well uh, I'm there. And believe me, I didn't know.

What I learned about the Spirit World

Clarify: \ˈkler-ə-ˌfī, ˈkla-rə-\ 1: to make (as a liquid) clear or pure usually by freeing from suspended matter 2: to free of confusion 3: to make understandable
So last night I was studying along about what to expect in the Spirit World.

I have studied and pondered these verses in Alma and this section of the Doctrine and Covenants many, many times. But last night I came across this teaching from Brigham Young.

And I say "Hello" to clarification to some of the thoughts I've had about the Spirit World.

"Is the spirit world here? It is not beyond the sun, but is on the earth that was organized for the people that have lived and do and will live upon it. No other people can have it, and we can have no other kingdom until we are prepared to inhabit this eternally.

"When you lay down this tabernacle, where are you going? Into the spiritual world. Are you going to Abraham's bosom? No, not anywhere nigh there but into the spirit world. Where is the spirit world? It is right here. Do the good and evil spirits go together? Yes, they do. Do they both inhabit one kingdom? Yes, they do. Do they go to the sun? No. Do they go beyond the boundaries of the organized earth? No, they do not. They are brought forth upon the earth, for the express purpose of inhabiting it to all eternity. Where else are you going? Nowhere else, only as you may be permitted.

". . .If the Lord would permit it, and it was His will that it should be done, you could see the spirits have have departed from this world, as plainly as you now see bodies with your natural eyes. . .

"The Spirits that dwell in these tabernacles on this earth, when they leave them go directly into this world of spirits. What! A congregated mass of inhabitants there in spirit, mingling with each other, as they do here? Yes, brethren, they are there together, and if they are associate together, and collect together in clans and in societies as they do here, it is there privilege. No doubt they yet, more of less, see, hear, converse and have to do with each other, both good or bad. . .

"If we are faithful to our religion, when we go into the spirit work, the fallen spirits - Lucifer and the third part of the heavenly hosts that came with him, and the spirits of wicked men (and women) who have dwelt upon this earth, the whole of them combined will have no influence over our spirits. Is not that an advantage? Yes. All the rest of the children of men are more or less subject to them, and they are subject to them as there were here in the flesh. . .

"When the breath leaves the body, your life has not become extinct; your life is still in existence. And when you are in the spirit world, everything will appear as natural as things now do. Spirits will be familiar with spirits in the spirit world - will converse, behold, and exercise a variety of communication with another as familiarity and naturally as while here in tabernacles. There, as here, all things will be natural, and you will understand them as you now understand natural things" (Brigham Young, Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. Joyhn A. Widstoe [1941], 376-80).

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Liken the Scriptures - David and Goliath

Many years ago, when our oldest was about seven, I wanted to find something that could keep my boys' attention between General Conference sessions. Someone suggested a "Liken" video about David and Goliath.

I was a bit apprehensive, but I decided I would give it a try. Come to find out, this has become my FAVORITE telling of David and Goliath!

For a limited time you can watch it  on LIKEN TV for free!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tidbit Tuesday - Hearing the Voice of the Lord

"It is vital that we, the sisters of Relief Society, learn to hear the voice of the Lord. Yet I worry that too often we fail to seek the guidance of the Spirit. Perhaps we don’t know how and haven’t made it a priority to learn. Or we’re so aware of our personal failings that we don’t feel worthy, don’t really believe the Lord will talk to us, and therefore don’t seek revelation. Or we’ve allowed the distractions and pace of our lives to crowd out the Spirit. What a tragedy! For the Holy Ghost blesses us with optimism and wisdom at times of challenge that we simply cannot muster on our own. No wonder that one of the adversary’s favorite tactics among righteous LDS women is busyness—getting us so preoccupied with the flurry of daily life that we fail to immerse ourselves in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Sisters, we can’t afford not to seek the things of the Spirit! There is too much at stake. Too many people are depending on us as mothers, as sisters, leaders, and friends. A woman led by the Lord knows where to turn for answers and for peace. She can make difficult decisions and face problems with confidence because she takes her counsel from the Spirit, and from her leaders who are also guided by the Spirit. Our responsibility, therefore, is to learn to hear the voice of the Lord. "

-Sheri L. Dew
General Conference October 1998

Monday, January 16, 2012

Family Home Evening - Jesus Christ, Our Chosen Leader and Savior

Tonight our lesson came from HERE.

Here is what we did:

We asked the following questions for everyone to think about:
Question #1: Why did we need to leave Heavenly Father's presence?
Question #2: Why do we need a Savior?

Then my six year old daughter and I stood to lead this persuasive argument:

Mom: Okay, as you all know, Father has presented to us His plan.

Daughter: We have been assigned to come and ask for your votes.

Mom: Before you make your choice, we want you to hear both sides of what is being offered so that you can best decide what is right for you.

Daughter: As you know, two of our spirit brothers are willing to go to earth for us.

Mom: I believe both want what is best for us. Both have reasonably good offers. But I want you to think how you would feel if we never could see each other again. Think of all the time we have spent together. Think of all the good times we've already have had. I don't think I could bear it if one of us never comes back to Father. That is why I think Lucifer's plan will be the best for us. Think about it, we will go to earth together and then come back and live with Father again.

Daughter: Only one of our brothers is following Father's plan. Jesus is the only one who is giving you a choice. Following Father's true plan means you will choose Jesus over Lucifer.

Mom: But making choices on earth will only hurt you. Thank about it. What if you make a wrong choice? What if you make a choice that makes you sad or poor or ugly or fat? What happens if you make a choice that brings harm or evil to one of us? It will destroy us. We could never come back as a family. I know none of us would want that.

Daughter: But Jesus promises us that He will be our Savior. He will save us from all of our bad mistakes if we follow Him. He promises that if we make covenants with Father and keep His commandments, we can repent and return together as a family forever and ever.

Mom: Don’t you see how hard it's going to be? Those are all hypothetical ideas because we will make mistakes with Jesus. Lucifer is going to take Father's plan and make it easier for us to do the same thing. Lucifer will make sure that we will follow the commandments, that we will ALL make covenants, that we will do EVERYTHING that we should do. None of us will do anything different. None of us will stray from the path. NONE OF US! We will ALL come home. It's the easy way.

Daughter: But remember what Lucifer said? After everything is all done, he wants to take away all of Father's glory for himself. Father is the greatest, most wonderful being I have ever known. Everything He does is for our eternal happiness. Lucifer is trying to take over our family.

Mom: He is not trying to take over our family. If Lucifer does win, he will make sure that we will all come back, just as Father wants. And if he does that, wouldn't he deserve all of the glory anyway for working so hard for us?

Daughter: No! Jesus is Father's First Born Son. He will go to earth just like us. He will know all that we go through. He promises us that we can make choices and learn for ourselves - not be told what to do. He will sacrifice Himself to show us that He loves us and that we can repent and be forgiven. And in the end, Jesus will give Father ALL the glory. And He promises us that we can share all the blessings of eternal life with them.

Mom: Whatever. We don't have much time left. You need to decide which side you'll choose. Please promise me that we will always, always, always stay together.  Please choose the easy way!

Daughter: I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. He is the way, the truth and the life. It is time to make your choice.
What ensued was amazing. Of course, to make things at least somewhat real (a third of the hosts of heaven rejected Father's plan), I enlisted the help of my husband and our twelve-year old twins to choose to go with me.

But everyone else clearly and easily moved over to the side their sister was on.

Except our youngest son.

To begin with, he found himself on his sister's side. But oh, how he LOVES his twin brothers. And oh how his twin brothers love him.

And they began coaxing him to come over.

Come over to our side.

And that is when the "battle" ensued!

Noise. Commotion. A whole lot of yelling.

Sister's team grabbed hold of him, not wanting to let him go. And the twins, well, they are all about agency!!

"Hey!" they yelled. "You can't hold him back. You can't take away his agency. If he wants to come with us, he can."

So sister's team let him go. And he came to our side just beaming.

And after, when we "revealed" what sides were and how many of our spirit sibs chose to follow Lucifer, our youngest little boy fell down and sobbed.  He sobbed and sobbed and sobbed.

He didn't want to choose the wrong side. But he did. Because he loves his brothers.

Which gave me a whole lot to think about.

About my choices before I came to earth  - and my choices now.

About who I influenced in the Spirit World.

And whom I'm influencing now.

Am I using my agency to get back to Him and helping others to so the same?

It was a great family home evening!

Forgot to post last week's FHE.  But It came from HERE. And we all ended up drawing pictures of families in clouds.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tidbit Tuesday - Self-Discipline and Internal Control

"Self-discipline has eroded and societies are left to try to maintain order and civility by compulsion. The lack of internal control by individuals breeds external control by governments."

D. Todd Christofferson
General Conference October 2009

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Murmuring, Obedience and Me

Here's what I learned in Sunday School today about murmuring.

The information today was shared by an incredibly talented, yet profoundly humble pediatric cardiologist and his most remarkable wife, who also happens to be a cardiac nurse for adult patients!!

So when a baby is born with a heart murmur, it is called an innocent murmur.

A normal heart beat sounds something like lub-dub, lub-dub.

An innocent murmur in an infant sounds something more like lub-dub, then a blowing noise (emphasis on the noise), then a lub-dub.

There are about six different types of innocent murmurs.

These murmurs are common enough among young children that if you listen to the hearts of 20 pre-schoolers, one-fourth of them will have a heart murmur!

Most innocent heart murmurs in children go away naturally somewhere between the ages of 8 and 10.

Interesting, isn't it, that that age coincides somewhat with the age of accountability?

However, when an adult has a heart murmur it is usually caused by another, underlying problem.

If not treated properly and promptly the effects can be severe enough to cause death.

So there in Sunday School my mind and heart was processing as quickly as it could before someone moved to the next topic, the connection murmuring has with obedience.

Obedience to the Lord.

Obedience to the living prophets.

Obedience to the promptings of the Holy Ghost.

And how disobedience is usually the underlying problem I have when it comes to my murmuring.

Disobedience meaning a negative attitude or laziness or being too comfortable or not acting quickly enough or just being plain rebellious.

And how if the underlying cause of my murmuring (aka disobedience) isn't corrected properly and promptly, the effects can be severe enough to cause me death.

Spiritual death. Or in other words, losing my place in the land of promise.

No wonder obedience IS the First Law of Heaven.

Because obedience will do wonders on fixing the murmurs of my heart.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Giving without Expecting ANYTHING in Return

Okay, okay, I've learned my lesson.

It is so MUCH better to give without expecting ANYTHING in return.

And let me just tell you why.

I had this HUGE bag of baby clothes that were being added upon weekly.

Only six months worth of baby clothes, thank heavens, because I donated the first three months of clothes to a high school fundraising yard sale a few months ago.

Anywho, I had this HUGE bag of baby clothes(did I say that already?) and most of the clothes, okay, at least half of the clothes were NEW. The rest were very gently used.

So I decided I would try my luck and take this HUGE bag to a store that promises CASH for new and gently used baby things.

"Goody!" I thought, "Maybe I'll have enough dough for a small down payment on a gently used high chair to add to our dining area."

So I dropped this HUGE goody bag off at the store that promises CASH for baby things and I anxiously awaited their call.

I wait overnight, into the next morning and into that afternoon.

Well, by that afternoon I was experiencing such an EXTREME case of head pain that I had to take 800 mg of ibuprofen and lay down my head to see if that would do anything to take the pounding, throbbing, intense pain away.

And it was sometime during that dazey-doze of mine that the phone rings.

And I answer.

And it is a woman from the store who promises CASH for baby things. (Did I happen to mention that the HUGE bag I dropped off was filled with had new and very, gently used baby clothing???)

And here's how the conversation went down:


"Hello, this is the store that promises CASH for baby things."

"Oh yes," I muster, because my head is simply p-o-u-n-d-i-n-g out of my skull and my eyelids are the only things that are protecting my eyeballs from exploding, it hurts THAT bad.

"Um, your total CASH back is $3.38."

"Uh, . . . kay."



It cost me more in gas to drive that darn HUGE bag of new and gently used clothes to the store that offers CASH for baby things.

And I thought my head couldn't throb anymore than it already did!

And that is where I've learned my lesson to give without expecting anything in return.

Which means from here on out I drop off any and all HUGE bags of new and gently used baby clothes at the local thrift store.

Because it's a heck of a lot more satisfying than $3.38!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

My Definition of Polyticks

With Iowa behind us, New Hampshire just ahead and a whole heck of a lot more to come - and that doesn't even include the General Election - here's my humble definition of polyticks.

poly-: many, several, much

ticks: any of a superfamily of bloodsuckers that attach themselves to warm-blooded vertebrates to feed, and include important vectors of infectious diseases
But seriously folks, I feel so incredibly blessed to live in a country where we have our agency to vote.

To vote for a man or a mouse.

To vote for someone we passionately believe in, or for the person we think will win.

To vote for future promises or ideals and principles and hope for a better, stronger tomorrow.

Isn't it empowering to know that WE, THE PEOPLE, have the ability in 2012 to make the difference!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Tidbit Tuesday - HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Okay, so I shared this last year.
But at the beginning of another year it's worth the reminder . . .

Happy 2012.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Family Home Evening - Our Heavenly Father

Tonight's family lesson came from HERE.

Here is what we did:

Everyone was given a piece of paper and crayons and asked to draw something they see or hear or feel or smell each day that reminds them that they have a Father in Heaven.

After each family member shared what they drew, we were asked some to think and share of some of Heavenly Father's character traits.

Then we discussed different ways on how each of us can better develop a relationship with our Father in Heaven. Prayer and studying the scriptures topped our list.
And here is just one of the things I learned tonight during family home evening:

After I drew my very colorful picture of a sunset, making sure I put in plenty of reds, oranges, and pinks in my Crayola the sky, I realized that I hadn't yet colored my sky blue.


So I dug around in the crayon box - that has at least 682 small, broken pieces - and finally found myself a sky blue crayon.

And guess what happened as I began to color over my already colorful sunset?

The light azure began to pick up the yellows and oranges and turn them into . . .


Which taught me another something so absoutely AMAZING about Heavenly Father.

In all my meager years of earthly existence, I have n.e.v.e.r. ever seen a green sky.


Blue + Yellow = Green.

But never during a sunset.

Because during the sunset, the yellows of the sun and the blues of the sky defy the color wheel.

And instead of greens, these two colors: blue and yellow, create deep reds, soothing oranges, calming pinks and absolutely stunning purples fit for a king.

And that, I think, makes Father in Heaven even MORE amazing!!!!

P.S. I also think Heavenly Father laughs a whole lot more that I think He does.