Monday, December 30, 2013

Family Home Evening - Charity, the Pure love of Christ

We gave each family member the assignment to study about charity.  We actually gave the assignment about 30 minutes before our lesson because if we had given it any sooner (a week, a day, an hour before, for example), it would have been forgotten.

Here's what we did.

1. Everyone took a moment to share ONE principle they discovered about Charity.

2. We read aloud the following about Charity.  We read each paragraph one at a time, but we read it twice.  We were to write down anything we learned or felt from that paragraph.  Then, we briefly discussed what we learned before moving on to the next one.

3. We worked in pairs for the next activity.  We took a piece of paper and divided it in half.  One one side we examined the definition of Charity in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 and on the other side Moroni 7:45-46.  We shared in partners the things that were the same and different and why.

4. Finally, we discussed together why having Charity is so important and how we receive it.

Each of us discovered something important about Charity. 

One of my sons made a very insightful observation, "One cannot have charity towards the things of the world." 

Another son remarked that Charity is not service.  Rather, service is a vehicle by which charity can be felt.

For me, I am in the process of learning why Charity is a bestowed gift.  Perhaps the Savior's charge to "watch and pray" can pertain to Charity. For if I do not watch and pray, as another of my sons taught me, I could mistakenly begin to love and embrace the sin or hate and despise the sinner.  Both of which are contrary to the pure love God has for all His children.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Family Home Evening - Seeing God's Hand in our Life

"Those who keep a book of remembrance are more likely to keep the Lord in remembrance in their daily lives.  Journals are a way of counting our blessings and of leaving an inventory of these blessings for our posterity."  -Spencer W. Kimball

Here's what we did for Family Home Evening.  We took our lesson from HERE and from HERE.

We took 2-3 minutes to quietly and silently reflect on how we have seen the Lord's hand in our life and in our family during the past year.

Then we took 5-6 minutes sharing our experiences.

WOW!  God's hand IS in our lives! Collectively, we were able to recognize so many times. But without having written those things down, we only remembered just sliver.

Then we watched THIS VIDEO . . .

Finally, everyone in our family was given their very own Remember Journal.  (I found some cute mini notebooks. Because I am seriously challenged in the crafty-skills area, I just printed quotes on paper and spray glued them to the front. It works :)

Our challenge, individually and as a family, is to record when we see the hand of God in our lives.  Next Christmas Eve we will gather again and open our journals to be reminded how much God loves us and how much we have need of Him.

"Pray and ponder, asking the questions: Did God sen a message that was just for me?  Did I see His hand in my life or the lives of my children?  I will do that.  And then I will find a way to preserve that memory for they day that I, and those that I love, will need to remember how much God loves us and how much we need Him." -Henry B. Eyring

Friday, December 20, 2013

Power of the Aaronic Priesthood

My twins made the Frosh/Soph Basketball team for their high school.

They don't start.

They play, maybe, 6 minutes a game . . . on a good night!

But they practiced all summer long. They worked so hard to make the team and work so hard in practice. They are happy enough that they can sit on the bench and be called in when needed!

To top it off, they are good boys.  Sensitive to those things that offend the Holy Spirit.

Three or so weeks into the school year they commented to me how much swearing goes on in high school!!! Which means they are two of just a few boys on the entire basketball team (Varsity, JV and Frosh/Soph) who don't swear.

Well, today they are off on a bus to their game that's 6 hours away! (And 6 hours back.  Plus three games sandwiched in between!) And it snowed terribly all. day. yesterday. and it's supposed to start snowing later on this evening.

To say I was a little hesitant to let them go is an understatement.

Snow.  Swearing.  Six hours down.  Six hours back.

So after I saw them out the door for school, I knelt down to pray and ask Father in Heaven to protect them. Because I knew there would be no Melchizedek Priesthood holders on the bus. And what if something happened?  What if the storm hit them while on the way home?  What if they got stranded?  What if . . . .

And as I prayed this sweet, protecting feeling enveloped me, and in my mind I seemed to hear these words, "Darla, did you forget? Your boys have the priesthood.  Your boys have the priesthood."

Oh, wonderful Aaronic Priesthood, "which holds the keys of the ministering of angels." How could I have forgotten?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Caterer

So for Thanksgiving I hosted 25 hungry, thankful people on Thanksgiving.  ("I", meaning I did most of it, with some handy help from my husband and a little, teensy weensy help from my children).

Four guests informed me, the night before Thanksgiving, they were coming. 15 of our guests were children under 16 years old (okay, nine of them were mine, but during Thanksgiving they are "guests" because we try to use our best dinner manners with other people over :).

We served a 22# turkey and a 22# ham, smashed patooties (that's what we call them), sweet papas (that's what we call them, too), red Jell-o with whipped topping, stuffing, blue cabbage (a family tradition), cranberry sauce, rolls, pies, ice cream and soda.

We ate till we could eat no more. . . then we started on dessert.

The NEXT morning, we again hosted another set of 25 for a Family Brunch, complete with yogurt parfaits, bagels and schmear (that's what Einstein's calls it) and juice.

And after TWO DAYS days of feeding and cleaning up after a meager 50, I've decided, HANDS DOWN, that Jesus Christ is THE Ultimate Caterer!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Power of Prayer

Last week a brother in our ward had a terrible motocross accident.

The accident left him in induced coma for three days, two broken arms, a broken wrist, and head trauma.  While not in ICU anymore, he is still in the hospital dealing with the effects of head trauma.

His wife wrote on her blog this morning:
"We are so grateful for all those who want to visit, with broken bones and bruises, I would have you all. But with brain trauma it is a different story. We were told by the trauma team, just hearing a beeping noise from a machine and someone talking can be nauseating and can cause him to throw up. He said it was like a migraine times a million. I have only had one or two in my life, and I couldn't stand noise or light. So I am respecting the Doctors wishes by not inviting visitors. It is for the best interest of ******'s healing. He repeats the days of the week constantly, counts and trys (sic) hard to focus, I know his brain is working on overload and don't want to cause him more stress and trauma, that keeps him from healing. I will continue asking the Doctors when it is best to have visitors, but for now your prayers are what he needs."
I've thought a lot about what we want and can do in situations like this!

We can take meals.  We can visit.  We can mow lawns, shovel snow, rake leaves.  We can fix leaky toilets, fill vehicles with gasoline, send bouquets of flowers.  We can watch children, help with schedule changes, even pay the mortgage!!

But sometimes, when someone says, "I just need your prayers!"  I think, "What?  Please tell me that's not all I can do?  Because I am capable of so. much. more."

Which got me to thinking about prayer and it's power.

And my thoughts quietly took me to a Garden. Yes, that Garden, wherein the Savior of us all knelt to pray - to pray - for all God's children.

For after all His parables, all His sermons, after turning water into wine, feeding the 5000, walking on water healing the lame, the blind, the sick and raising people from the dead, what He did was what we needed the very most:  He prayed for us!!

And His prayer, that Prayer, coupled with Him humbly kneeling in the Garden for me and for you, petitioning the Father on our behalf, makes me realize that the intrinsic power of prayer means that I am truly capable of doing so much more than just taking in a meal.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Family Home Evening - Portavoz

Some time ago I wrote HERE about prophets being a portavoz.  Tonight for Family Home Evening our lesson/activity helped us better understand how hearing the prophet's voice has meaning and application.

We identified different prophets: Noah, Nephi, Paul, Isaiah, Alma.  (You could put the names of different prophets in a bowl and have family members pick them out one by one and share what the prophet taught during his ministry).

We discussed what each prophet's message was to their people.

My husband asked, "When you read the words of Moses or Nephi or Mormon, can you hear their voices or do you just hear your own?" (I confess, I only hear my own voice when I read, but some of my children have said they have, on occasion, been able to hear those teachings in the voice of the prophet's).

With General Conference literally at our fingertips, my husband took the liberty to see how well we knew the voices of our prophets, seers, and revelators.  We each had a paper and pencil, numbered our papers 1 - 10 and we were given a 2-3 second sound bite from this weekend's General Conference.

I was pretty amazed at how well my children did - particularly the younger ones!

We then were able to testify that when we listen to, study and ponder the words of living prophets, we will hear their voice testify to us those things we need to know in these last days as we prepare for the Lord's coming!

Don't you LOVE General Conference?!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Roaming Charges

Today I attended the temple.

And there wasn't one. other. place. on earth I would have learned what I learned and felt what I felt.

So imagine my surprise when I walked out of the temple and read this warning message on my phone:

Roaming network: 
Accessing data during trips 
outside the U.S. may result in significantly higher charges. . .
To sign up for a global data plan call global support. . .

All I can say is that after being in the temple I already have access to the best global data plan with unlimited global support!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Tidbit Tuesday - Women and the Priesthood

"The emancipation of women in this mortal sphere does not yet involve priesthood. Women in our great nation enjoy civil rights and liberties like men: they can vote and run for public offices like men: they can own property and drive cars like men; they can frequent public places like men, they can work when, where, and if they please like men; they can smoke, curse, and blaspheme the name of God like men; they can eat, drink, and be merry like men; they can cut their hair like men and wear men's clothes. One thing they cannot do as men—they cannot violate the oath and covenant of the priesthood as some men who bear the priesthood do. Maybe you should thank God for that. If that, dear Sister, gives comfort to your soul, then let me disturb your comfort by reminding you that by reason of your temple experience, you do have certain priesthood covenants to keep and uphold. Had you forgotten them?" 

-William J. Critchlow Jr.
General Conference October 1965

Monday, August 19, 2013

Family Home Evening - The Worth of A Soul

We took our lesson from HERE.

Here's what we did:

Place the same number of the same fruit or vegetable in a bowl as you have members in your family. (We used potatoes.  You can use apples or oranges or zucchini, for example).

Give everyone a blindfold and have them put it on.

Pass the bowl around and have everyone choose a potato.  Since I was giving the lesson, I placed an initial using a watercolor marker on each potato after it was chosen.

We gave 2-3 minutes for everyone to examine and get to know their potato with their hands. (30 seconds into it I had to tell everyone that this activity was going to be a silent one because everyone had a silly comment to make).

I gathered the potatoes and then randomly passed them out.  The goal was for each person to find "their" potato.  I was AMAZED that everyone found 'their' potato!  Even the one person who didn't know for sure, ended up with the right one because everyone else knew FOR SURE they had their potato!

We read THIS scripture and invited family members to share experiences of how we have known that God knows us and values us.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Books I read while on vacation . . .

A few weeks ago we took a much needed family vacation!!

And I pretty much did everything I normally do at home: fix breakfast, do laundry, watch the 2 year old, make lunch, do laundry, make sure the two year old wasn't putting gadgets down in the toilet, cook dinner, do laundry, make sure the two year old wasn't escaping out the front doors or eating Play-doh.

However, I did get to read THREE books,  . . . something I don't normally get to do in such a short amount of time, if at all!"

Under a Leafless Tree by Helga Meyer and Lark Evans Galli

The Evolution of Thomas Hall by Kieth Merrill

When Hearts Conjoin by Erin M. Herrin, with Lu Ann Probst Staheli

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Seed of the Evildoers Shall Never be Renowned

Through modern day revelation we learn that before we came to earth we lived with our Father in Heaven as one of His spirit children.  During our premortal existence, we were part of a Great Council in which Father presented to us His great plan of happiness.  This plan enabled us to become like our Heavenly Father.  We would be able to go to earth to attain physical bodies and to use our gift agency to make choices, particularly while facing adversity, as a test to see if we would return back to Father's presence.

Knowing that using our agency would inevitably cause us to make choices contrary to Father's commandments, Jesus Christ, the Firstborn Spirit son of our Father in Heaven, covenanted to be our Savior.  He wanted us to use our agency, and would suffer for our sins so that we could repent so we could return back to our heavenly home. Jesus Christ sustained the Father's Plan, giving the glory to God to whom it properly belonged.

Lucifer, another spirit son of God, rebelled against the plan and 'sought to destroy the agency of man.' Lucifer's modification of God's Plan (in that no one would be lost because everyone would choose the right), not only took away our agency, it also gave him all of God's power and honor and glory.

Lucifer's plan was rejected.  He rebelled against God.  Lucifer became Satan and he and his followers were cast out of heaven.  Those who had faith in Jesus Christ have come or will come to earth to receive a physical body and have their agency to choose how they may, hopefully finding faith in Jesus Christ and returning to live with Him again.

I have been thinking a lot about Lucifer's twisted plan and here are some of my thoughts.

1. Lucifer was unable to come up with an original plan of his own. Instead, he took Father's great plan of happiness and twisted it. He does that same thing today! Lucifer is unable to come up with an original plan of his own.  Instead, he waits and takes the good and great things God gives to man  and then twists them just enough to drag God's children speedily down to hell.  Television. Internet. Families.  Just to name a few.

2. Lucifer loves himself.  He loves himself more than he loves his neighbor and exponentially more than he loves God. If that doesn't destroy the law and the prophets.  Furthermore, when God declares 'wo unto the inhabitants of the whole earth except they shall repent,' the 'the devil laugheth, and his angels rejoice, . . .  because of iniquity and abominations.'  He laughs because he attributes all that suffering, all that sorrowing, all that iniquity and abomination to him!

3. The most chilling of all is this: Perhaps Lucifer wanted to destroy our agency because he didn't want to experience pain!  He wanted a body without the pain.  After all, sickness is hard enough.  And then, then there is dying.  Dying for oneself was one thing, but to die for all of Father's children? He wanted no pain and yet, ALL the gain.

Interestingly, Isaiah saw the devil like he was and is and will be:
How art thou fallen from heaven. O Lucifer, son of the morning! how are thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations.
For thou thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.
They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms;
That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?
All the kings of the nations, even all of them, lie in glory, everyone on in his own house.
But thou are cast out of thy grave like and abominable branch, as as the raiment of those what are slain, thrust through with a sword, that go down to the stones of the pit; as a carcass trodden under feet.
Thou shalt not be joined with them in burial, because those hast destroyed thy land, and slain thy people: the seed of the evildoers shall never be renowned.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Spirit of God = The Spirit of Freedom

This month found our family scripture study smack dab in the Book of Mormon War Chapters - which has been so fitting as we celebrate the independence of our country.

I have been amazed that even before our Constitution was formed, righteous men - Moroni, Teancum, Helaman, Pahoran - also fought for those same things our Founding Fathers held most sacred and dear: God, religion, freedom, peace, family, liberty.

One phrase caught my attention.  If it were a mathematical formula it would look like this:

The Spirit of God = The Spirit of Freedom

And that's when I realized that when I make choices that limit my freedom, I lose the privilege of having God's Spirit with me.

Furthermore, when we as a nation give up our freedoms for social justice, for the greater good, or even for absolute security, we are undoubtedly giving up the very power and Spirit of God.

And when that happens, where does that place us?

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Filled with God's Love

The other day, while walking along at a Home Depot, I noticed a man walking towards me wearing a T-shirt with words and symbols that were contrary to my beliefs.

To be honest, judgmental thoughts started to creep into my mind.  But I decided to look up to see the face of this man.  As our eyes met, this man smiled at me which, automatically prompted me to smile back.

At that very moment my heart was filled with such immense and incredible love.  Not my love, but God's perfect love.

We passed each other and I continued my way to the check out.  But the feeling of God's love continued to envelope me with undeniable clarity, so much so that they took form as words into my mind as I heard this tender phrase whisper to my soul, "I love him and I love you."

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Independence Day!

And Moroni was a strong and a mighty man;
he was a man of a perfect understanding; 
yea, a man that did not delight in bloodshed; 
a man whose soul did joy in the liberty 
and the freedom of his country, 
and his brethren from bondage and slavery;

Yea, a man whose heart did swell with 
thanksgiving to his God
for the many privileges and blessings which 
He bestowed upon his people; 
a man who did labor exceedingly for the welfare and safety of his people.
Yea, and he was a man who was
firm in the faith of Christ, 
and he had sworn with an oath to 
defend his people, 
his rights, 
and his country, 
and his religion, 
even to the loss of his blood.
Yea, verily, verily I say unto you, 
if all men had been, and were, and ever would 
be, like unto Moroni,
behold, the very powers of 
hell would have been shaken forever
yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Family Home Evening - River of Victory

This week for Family Home Evening we watched THIS video.

It made for a very healthy discussion - not only following the video, but all during the week.

Here are some themes we discussed:

* God's love

* Family

* Poverty

* Gratitude

* Faith and Healing

* Entitlement

* Excessiveness

On a side note, for a REALLY, REALLY, REALLY great fiction read . . . READ THIS!!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Late Laborer in the Vineyard

"This parable—like all parables—is not really about laborers or wages any more than the others are about sheep and goats. This is a story about God’s goodness, His patience and forgiveness, and the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a story about generosity and compassion. It is a story about grace. It underscores the thought I heard many years ago that surely the thing God enjoys most about being God is the thrill of being merciful, especially to those who don’t expect it and often feel they don’t deserve it."  -Jeffrey R. Holland
I've always loved the Parable of the Laborers found in the Book of Matthew.  Perhaps because considered myself an early laborer in the vineyard.

Early, and ever so willing to welcome the late laborers, particularly the ones hired in the eleventh hour.

"Come on over here," I imagine myself beckoning.  "You are more than welcome to work right alongside me! And I am so happy and overjoyed that you and I will receive the same pay!"

Not too long ago, however, someone suggested that each of us, sometime or another, will arrive late to some part of the Lord's vineyard.

"Late?" I mumbled to myself. "Me?  I am not a late laborer, I come early!  I've always been early."

Then this sweet woman explained that she had just discovered the vineyard of family history.

She had only been laboring for three months but the blessings and miracles of finding dates, stories, and information far surpassed her 12 week labor.  "Why would I receive such incredible blessings in just a short amount of time?"  She  asked. "I'm late in coming to this part of the vineyard.  So very late and yet, the blessings of God have filled me beyond capacity."

That's when I came to the stark realization that I AM A LATE LABORER! I'm more late than on time!

And even in my late comings, God is still merciful . . . to me.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Tidbit Tuesday - Attention to Placement

"That same God that placed that star in a precise orbit millennia before it appeared over Bethlehem in celebration of the birth of the Babe has given at least equal attention to placement of each of us in precise human orbits so that we may, if we will, illuminate the landscape of our individual lives, so that our light may not only lead others but warm them as well."

-Neal A Maxwell
That My Family Should Partake p. 86

Monday, June 24, 2013

Family Home Evening - Home Teaching Teaching

Tonight our family had a special treat!

Our home teacher and his wife came and joined us for Family Home Evening and gave us our lesson.

Our home teacher took his lesson from HERE.

He brought a bag filled (literally filled) with toys that would represent things that we enjoy or would want or things on which we place importance.  He tossed each object across the room members of our family as we raised our hands, vying wildly for that object!!

After we each had a nice stash, we talked about those things and why they bring us the feelings they do. And then we talked about things that REALLY are important: God, family, and the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

He left this quote for us that is now displayed on our refrigerator as a reminder to us, by a people far away, of those things that should matter most to us!

"The gospel in Africa is going to a happy people, very unencumbered by the trappings that affect the lives of many in the West. They are not concerned about having endless material possessions.
"It has been said of Africans that they have very little of that which matters least and a great deal of that which matters most. They have little interest in enormous homes and the finest cars but great interest in knowing their Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, and in having eternal families. As a natural result of their faith, the Lord is lifting them in meaningful ways."

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Greatest Teaching in the Church . . .

Today, along with many Saints around I world, I was instructed, enlightened, challenged, inspired, prompted, invited and spiritually fed during the World Wide Leadership Training.

For me, the most powerful statement came from President Boyd K. Packer when he said,
"The greatest teaching in the Church is done by the mothers."

Which has caused me to cherish, even more, the power and the importance of receiving personal revelation.

As I have been pondering the eleven empowering words from President Packer, this thought has been pressing on my mind.

"The ability to qualify for, receive, and act on personal revelation is the single most important skill that can be acquired in this life." - Julie B. Beck
If the greatest teaching in the Church is to be done by mothers, I need to better qualify to receive and act upon that revelation I will be given!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

I'm the "Im" in my ImPerfect Family!

" . . . be kind regarding human frailty - your own as well as [your family's].  Except in the case of His only perfect Begotten Son, imperfect [families] are all God has ever had to work with.  That must be terrible frustrating to Him, but He deals with it.  So should we." Jeffrey R. Holland

I've known for a while now that I'm the Im in my Imperfect Family!

I've been made aware because my husband and my children are always so good to remind me that I'm so NOT perfect!

And for the record I'm not behind them one whit in reminding them that they aren't either!!

We're good that way.

But I've come to a very glorious realization!

Although our family is all about imperfect (for now), we do have One Perfect Member who is helping (and being patient about) us becoming perfect.

And I figure, if He's still in the business of dealing with us . . . so should we!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Fathers in my Life

Father's Day is a time to reflect upon and show gratitude for the fathers and father figures in our lives.  I hope you will reflect upon the men who have blessed your life for good.

I am grateful for Bishops.  
I've had many a bishop in my day, Fathers of the Ward, to which they are sometimes referred. I've visited with these "fathers" on numerous occasions: for temple recommend interviews, for callings and releases, for tithing settlements. And while I have always had a great deal of respect and admiration for these men, I've never had cause to visit specifically with the bishop.

Not too long ago, however, I found myself in a situation that I could not reconcile.  Even after discussing it with my husband, I still felt unsettled and anxious.  I prayed for an answer from Heavenly Father.  And the answer came, "You need to see the Bishop."  The bishop?  But I knew the matter was NOT a bishop matter.  Stubbornly I insisted to myself that I would not bother the bishop on something I felt I could resolve on my own. But the feeling to visit with him was so persistent that I knew if I didn't I would be rejecting an answer from the Lord.  So finally after dragging my feet for a full week, I went to see the Bishop.

Immediately, upon seeing him, the peace and comfort I prayed to have was rewarded to me simply because of my obedience. My bishop gave me the counsel and direction my soul needed. That single experience enables me to testify that the Father of the Ward, the Bishop, is there for each one of us in our hour of need and we will be directed by the Spirit to seek his help and guidance.

I am grateful for my earthly father and his love for the gospel.
Growing up, my father saw to it that we had family prayer, family scriptures, family home evening.  We attended church together, and every six months we sat down as a family and watched General Conference together in our living room.  His guidance always led me to search the scriptures  and teachings of latter-day prophets.  I remember vividly the fireside talk President Benson gave in February 1987.  It was about mothers staying home.  Honestly, that talk would have been erased from my memory if it hadn't been for a high school teacher, who, the very next morning who singled me out and asked me in front of the whole class,  "So, what are you going to do with what President Benson counseled?" I marveled at his question because he didn't even go to church!!  Why would he care?  Except that it was his class that was the catalyst of what I wanted to do for the rest. of. my. life.  

I began pondering my teacher's question and pondering President Benson's talk for days.  Heavenly Father certainly wouldn't expect me to choose between a family and a profession!  Couldn't I have two cute kids and a great career?  When my pondering mind wore out I took the matter and discussed it with my dad.  He knew how much I loved this career choice . . . but he also knew there were blessings to be had by being obedient to the prophet.  My dad's final words on our discussion were these, "When the time comes, you'll know what to do.  Heavenly Father will let you know what is right for you."

I am forever grateful to an earthly father who directed me to my Heavenly Father . . . and I'm grateful for a Heavenly Father who gave me my answer.

I am grateful for my husband, the father of our children. 
This year will mark 21 years of marriage for us.  It was that long ago when, kneeling together at the temple altar, that we were admonished of Heavenly Father's commandment to "multiply and replenish the earth!"  If anyone would have told us, even ten years ago, that we would parents of nine children, we would have completely doubted their competency! 

When our oldest was two and a half and our twins were a mere FIVE months, I found out that I was expecting . . . again.  While I was very apprehensive of what others would say about our fast growing family, I was even more concerned on how my husband would respond.  

I broke the news to him a few days later at a gas station, while he was pumping the car with gas.  I closed my eyes and took a deep breath as I awaited his reaction.  And to my utter surprise not only did he smile, he glowed.  "We're going to have another one?" he asked with pure anticipation.  How blessed I felt at that moment to know that it didn't matter what anyone else would say about the number of our children or how close together we had them. I knew that in our little world of family, all that mattered was that my husband was happy to be a father!

The most important Father in my life is my Heavenly Father.
As far as earthly fathers and earthly father figures are concerned, I have found none to be perfect.  Even those for whom I have deep love and respect have fallen short on more than one occasion. Those occasions have caused me to drop to me knees in humble prayer to receive counsel, direction and peace from my Heavenly Father.

In his book, As the Father Hath Loved Us, Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone wrote, "Imagine the Father amidst the worlds without number, plans for redemption, the work of the atonement, and His eternal ministry, which we know so little about.  And yet in all His majesty, He hears the tiniest whisper of a prayer from the least of all His creations and cares and responds with an Answer."

During the most darkened times in my life - times when I have felt hopeless or lonely; afraid or forgotten; unforgiving or angry, I have always been able to offer every, last ounce of my soul to my Heavenly Father. Knowing that even in offering up my very worse self, He not only will listen, He will not only understand, He will still love me. I have no doubt that Heavenly Father loves me as His daughter. Heavenly Father is the most important Father in my life.

Happy Father's Day!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Butt of the Devil and Other Happenings the First Week of Summer Vacation

On our first day of the first week of Summer Vacation, we went BIG and switched all the boys' bedrooms around, which, I should mention, is not for the faint of heart! Because it means laundry up the wazoo (including bed linens that haven't been washed for HOW LONG?!?!), bags and bags and bags of clothes to take to the thrift store, and more than just a sneak peek of what was really hidden under their beds.

This week we hit Costco several times.  For food samples.  Right around the time I should have been feeding them lunch. Costco always does such a great job on bringing the variety - and the clean up was so worth it.

We all signed up for the Summer Reading Program at our county library.  The younger children were totally motivated by the food prizes. The teenagers finally consented when they found out that they had more options than just reading for 20 minutes a day (like downloading music and watching a DVD).

We found time to make some family favorites for dinner: Navajo Tacos, Crepes (with vanilla pudding/chocolate powdered sugar and chicken salad/white sauce as fillings); Pancakes (with eggs and sausage), S'mores, and hot-off-the-grill Hamburgers!

And conveniently interspersed throughout this perfect sounding first week, we've dealt with CONTENTION  or, as we unaffectionately refer to it in our family, the "butt of the devil." This absolutely repulsive phrase came about, on accident, during a Family Home Evening, when one of our sons planned a scripture chase for our activity.  After giving us clues to about five or six scripture references and getting frustrated that we were finding them too quickly, he decided to give us clues that were not so apparent. For example, instead of saying "I will go and do" as a clue, he gave "He shall prepare a way."  Instead of  saying "born of water and spirit," he clued us with "he cannot enter." And, for "contention is not of Me" we got "but . . . of the devil."  And with a houseful of kids it was immediately translated to "butt of the devil." And it stuck. like. glue.

So in an effort to rid our home from this awful plague, I've had to individually sit down with each child and help them recognize the triggers that cause them to contention.  Each child has made a list of things they can do when the inkling of the spirit of contention begins to move upon them and another list of consequences they will undergo if they are found contending.  SIGH!  We will see how it works.  Along with a lot of prayer on my part.

Because as much as I love summer vacation, I despise the butt of the devil.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Family Home Evening - Covenants and Ordinances

Our children learned about covenants and ordinances on Sunday.  As we had a family discussion,our children could readily define what a covenant is, but it took a while to be able to define and better understand what an ordinance is.

So, I drew this picture and here is the summary of our discussion.  (To be honest, it wasn't much better with a crayon, but it illustrates our discussion.)

Heavenly Father's Plan
We lived with our Heavenly Father before we were born.  Before we came to earth Heavenly Father created a plan.  That plan, if followed, would help us return and live with Him again.  That plan included keeping His commandments and making and keeping covenants.

What is a covenant?
A covenant is like a contract or a promise.  Instead of being between two people, it is a sacred promise between God and you and me!  God sets the conditions or the rules of the covenant.  We promise to obey the conditions.  As we obey, we are blessed.  When we disobey we cannot receive the blessings that can be ours.

What is an ordinance?
An ordinance is the way we to say to Heavenly Father, I want to make a covenant!! On earth, when two people enter a contract they usually sign have an important document, witnessed by someone with legal authority.  In the gospel of Jesus Christ, we don't sign a document to say we are making a covenant.  Instead, individuals perform a special sacred act, usually during a ceremony.  These ordinances must be performed by the authority of the priesthood. An ordinance is like signing a contract with our Heavenly Father.  Ordinances also come with set prayers. These prayers must be said exactly - word for word - for they are the covenants the Lord has made for us!

Baptism and Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost - The First Ordinances of the Gospel
The very first covenant we make with God is the covenant of Baptism by immersion.  It is the first ordinance we perform in order to make it back to our Heavenly Father's home.  In the scriptures it tell us that baptism is the GATE which opens up to the path that leads to eternal life.  This is followed by the ordinance of receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost.

The Sacrament
Each week we partake of the sacrament.  The sacrament is an ordinance.  We must partake of it weekly in order to return to our Heavenly Father. The sacrament reminds us that we have covenanted to 1) take upon us the name of Jesus Christ, 2) that we will remember Him and 3) that we will keep His commandments.  If we do our part, we are promised that the Holy Ghost will always be with us.

The Temple
Keeping our baptismal covenants prepares us to enter into the temple, or the House of the Lord.  In the temple we make additional covenants.  The covenant of eternal marriage is the highest of all the covenants we make in the temple.

Enduring to the End
After we have made our covenants, the most important thing we can do is LIVE them.  We must live them every day - until the very end of our lives - even when things in life get hard.

Celestial Glory
This is where Heavenly Father and Jesus dwell.  This is the place from where God's love emanates and where families are forever.  Making and keeping sacred covenants - by having sacred, saving ordinances performed - qualify us to live here forever and ever.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Thank you!

Thank you to my dear blogger friend who HELPED me figure out my problem! :)

I can blog again!

Saturday, June 1, 2013


So I'm posting with my PHONE because I can't create a post using my PC!! I've tried for days and days and days. All I get is a blank screen

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Family Field Trip

One mom picking up after eight children under eight years old, eight years ago. . . tolerable.

One mom picking up after nine children ages 2 - 16, today. . . absolutely, positively worthless!!

And today I had HAD it!

It's not like my husband and I haven't sat down and discussed the matter with our children both individually and collectively.  In fact, if I had to count, I am mathematically positive we have spent the equivalent amount of hours addressing this issue as there are days in a century!!

Just yesterday I caught a listen as my husband sat down quietly with the five oldest and encouraged and invited and pleaded for them to do their chores and not complain about work. I even heard him say, "I don't like seeing your mother work so hard all the time when you are old enough to help out!"  I am sure Providence was smiling down at that husband of mine because those directives came straight from his mouth, right from his heart, without me having put them there.

And yet  . . . just one day later, our house looked like, well . . .  I'm not even going to go there.

So I'm honest when I say that today I had HAD it.

But on the other hand, I had also had it with the current Lecture Series 505 we have on WORK!  So how in tarnation was I supposed to address this issue AGAIN and make it meaningful?

Pretty sure the heavens were on my side this evening because moments after that contemplating thought, inspiration came. And when it came, I didn't hesitate one bit to act upon it!

So I gleefully and spontaneously exclaimed that we were going on a field trip!

Oh boy! Excitement! All of our children came a running!!  Our younger ones filled with sheer delight (because it was already WAY past their bedtime) and the older ones filled with complete disbelief (because who in their right mind goes on a field trip at 8:30 at night with a house looking like ours??)

We started our field trip showing THESE pictures.  I asked each of my children to take a few moments to observe what they saw and how they felt. Then we shared.

And then we started out on our exciting field trip.  It was a SILENT field trip.  No one was allowed to speak.  We walked into EVERY. SINGLE. ROOM. of our house.  And we stopped and waited for several minutes in every single room of our house. And to be quite honest, I was about to cry in every single room of our house.  And it wasn't because I felt like I was a loser of a mother who couldn't keep a clean house, because I'm SO not OCD about that.  No, I wanted to cry for I saw on my children's faces the realization of the importance of doing their chores and fulfilling their responsibilities.  Because I think they got it.  Or at least they got something!

After traveling to every room on the house, we ended of our field trip reading THIS:
"A temple is literally a house of the Lord, a holy sanctuary in which sacred ceremonies and ordinances of the gospel are performed by and for the living and also in behalf of the dead. A place where the Lord may come, it is the most holy of any place of worship on the earth. Only the home can compare with the temple in sacredness."
You know, I'm pretty sure we'll still have talks and discussions.  I'm sure we may even add another 42 dozen hours to our Housecleaning/Work Lecture Series.  But tonight, each of us felt something strong enough to remember that we want our home to feel more like the temple.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

I Felt . . . OFFENDED!

"You and I cannot control the intentions or behavior of other people.  However we do determine how we will act.  Please remember that you and I are agents endowed with moral agency, and we can choose not to be offended."  - David A. Bednar
Many, many moons ago I received an anonymous letter in the mail.

And it wasn't nice.

No, it wasn't nice at all!

And to top it off  - it was from someone in my ward!!!

Up to that point in my life I had always believed that anyone who would be or could be offended had some troubles with their testimony.  After all, I naively surmised, if you had a testimony it wouldn't matter what anyone else says!

But it was on THAT day that I found myself with a deep, abiding testimony in my heart and a full-blown mean-spirited letter in my hand!!!

I felt hurt. I felt anger.  And I felt . . . OFFENDED!

All I wanted to do was crumble into a hundred, million, gazillion pieces right there and . . . never, ever go back to Church again!!

But at that very moment, while standing in the living room of our house, it was my children that kept me from crumbling . . .because, quite frankly, who has time to hide with pity in the closet when there's a menagerie of children all clamoring simultaneously for your undivided attention?

And my husband, who was the Bishop at the time, made sure I went back to Church the very next Sunday because there were six children under the age of six  that needed quieting during Sacrament Meeting and a piano that needed playing during Primary.

Talk about where "much is given . . ."

But going back to Church the next Sunday was not as easy as I thought it should be for people who had testimonies.  Because the moment I walked in those doors, I was enveloped with a claustrophobic air of suspicion.

And believe me when I say that I looked around and wondered . . .Who!



And why?

(Thank goodness playing the piano in Primary carries with it a sense anonymity!!)

For several days after my first Sunday back that letter a.b.s.o.l.u.t.e.l.y. plagued me.  It made me feel weak and vulnerable and on display.  It made me feel hurt and angry and insulted.  And almost instantaneously, I, who have always LOVED going and being in Church, decided that I maybe I shouldn't like it so much.

And I also decided that in order for me to stay on guard, I would keep the letter (frame it and place it on my nightstand) as a reminder of the mean, hurtful things someone had in their heart for me.

Oh my! Such a bad idea!

Such a very, VERY bad idea!

I honestly don't know how I came to my senses.

I don't know how the Lord ever got through to me in my miserable state!

But somehow, before the second Sunday dawned, I had successfully thrown that anonymous letter in the trash!!

Because it was destroying me!

To be honest, tossing the letter didn't mean that I was about to rush back to Church and shout "Gosh, I love Church and everyone in it, even those who anonymously send hate mail!

And to be even more honest, I was still very hesitant to return to Church the Sundays that followed.

But I went.  And I kept going.  And week by week going to Church got easier.

And I've learned that someone with a deep, abiding testimony can choose to feel offended! But, as Elder Bednar teaches, I'm also learning that "through the strengthening power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, you and I can be blessed to avoid and triumph over offense."

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Family Home Evening - Anger

It wasn't too long ago when we had THIS LESSON for Family Home Evening. . .

And this is what is SO stinkin' awesome about Family Home Evening.  We can tailor any Monday to fit the needs of our family.

And last night we needed a refresher course on ANGER!  Because right before school we had a little sibling squabble - which really started out to be fun -  but quickly it turned and escalated to kicking and breaking a door.  YIKES!

Which did not bode well with me at all!

No, not at all.

So my children had themselves in for a HUGE lecture on the way to school, which did not invite the Spirit, despite my attempts to quote scripture and recall words of living prophets. 

And on the way home I felt crummy.  Lousy.  Angry.

Imagine that!

So I asked Heavenly Father what He would have me do . . . and I was gently reminded that it was Family Home Evening.

And here's what we did:

1. We read 3 Nephi 11:29 (Scripture Mastery) and discuess why of all the things the Savior could teach the Nephites during His appearance to them, why would He teach about contention.

1. Everyone was given a piece of paper. On one side they were to make a list (or draw pictures) of the things that make them ANGRY!  This list was not to be shared :)

2.  Then we listened to THIS TALK by President Thomas S. Monson.  While listening to his talk we were to list on the other side of the paper what we were being taught.  I told my children they were not to write down the stories or the scripture references, but they were to write down what the Spirit wanted them to learn about anger.

3. After listening to the talk, we discussed what we learned.  We also realized that most of what makes us angry happens within the walls of our own home!!!  Ironic, isn't it?

We have a lot to work on!  But work we will.

Oh how I heart Family Home Evening!!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Visual Vision

This month our night Relief Society Meeting theme was "Women of Vision" and we made 'Vision Boards.'

To be honest, I had never heard of a vision board before.

And I, being the MOST uncrafty person on the planet, was a little apprehensive of what the activity part of our meeting would entail.

We were to take pictures or items to put on our board as a representation of our goals.

My Goals!

And I really had to think about my goals -

I suppose I could have brought a sock to remind me that I should keep up on my laundry . . .

And a recipe card, because, after all, it seems like I make dinner seven nights a week, 365 days of the year, when it's probably closer to 350 days of the year. . .

And a Clorox Wipe label as a reminder to keep the bathrooms clean . . .

And a Costco receipt to remind me to keep in budget (because WHO keeps in budget when shopping at Costco?)

And after a long, hard think, I realized that my Vision Board wasn't supposed to be about laundry or dinner or cleaning or Costco . . .

It is supposed to be a gentle reminder that I am a Woman of Vision!

Now, if I can only get my children to fold their clothes before they stuff them in their drawers!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Warning Labels

I guest-posted this back in September 2011 at Chocolate on My Cranium, but never posted it on my blog.  After an incredible General Conference weekend, I decided I needed a reminder!

I'm finding there are warning labels on virtually everything!

For example, the plastic bags in which I lug all the groceries home and then recycle as garbage can liners has this warning "Please keep this and all plastics away from children."

The side-view mirror on our 15 passenger van has this little caveat: "Objects in mirror are closer than they appear." 

My trusty hair dryer has a semi-permanent tag (more permanent than semi) that is securely wrapped around the cord with red ink cautions on both side: "DO NOT REMOVE THIS TAG! WARN CHILDREN OF THE RISK OF DEATH BY ELECTRIC SHOCK!" and "DANGER! Do not use while bathing." 

Although not as deliberate as my hair dryer, strict counsel is printed on the carton of my favorite black raspberry ice cream with dark chocolate chunks. It simply reads: "Keep Frozen."

So to read warnings from the Lord to the world about the family, should not be a surprise to anyone! Because all warnings that have come from the Lord have also been backed with eternal consequences. Certainly we remember these warnings that pertained to families: 

"Don't eat from this tree!"

"Build an Ark!"

"Don't look back!"

"Repent . . .or everyone (and I mean e.v.e.r.y.o.n.e.) will be destroyed but y.o.u."

And as surely as we recognize those warnings, we must not ignore that we have become the recipients of those consequences: 

The partaking of the fruit from that tree resulted in universal, physical death.

The building of Noah's Ark brought about the biggest Spring Cleaning the earth has ever known.

Lot's wife's little peek-a-boo teaches us that a very big mound of salt can completely lose its savor.

And Coriantumr, the last living Jaredite of the Book of Ether, fulfilled that warning prophecy as "the words of the Lord had all been fulfilled" (Ether 15:33).

In our day we have a "warning label" - if you will - that is securely attached to The Family, which is also known as "A Proclamation to the World."

It reads something like this:

"We (meaning ALL prophets, seers and revelators who ever lived, not just the ones who are living now) warn that individuals (moms, dads, and/or children) who violate covenants of chastity, (promises to keep one's heart, might, and mind sexually pure and clean) who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities (and here is the consequence) will one day stand accountable before God . (Yes, I may fool everyone else. I may even hide my sins from everyone else. But in the end it will be just me and Him). Furthermore, we warn that the disintegration of the family WILL bring upon individuals, communities and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets."

What. a. warning.

Personal Accountability.

Family Disintegration.

Individual, Community and National Calamities.

So in the meantime, as I live my life for that one day to stand before God and be held accountable to Him, (all while trying to find joy at the same time), what am I doing to heed this warning?

I believe the answer lies here: "to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as THE fundamental unit of society."

And since I am a fundamental part of my family, here are some of the choices and decisions I am making help me maintain and strengthen my family as a fundamental unit of society.

1. Get involved politically
I'm doing all I can to be more informed of political candidates. I am asking myself these questions: "Am I supporting candidates because they are from a "popular" party?" "Will this candidate vote with my voice or with his/her own agenda?" "Is this candidate personally and politically pro-family?"

2. Get involved educationally
My responsibility is two-fold in this area. 1) to be sure my children are doing their very best in acquiring and applying the knowledge they are receiving (this means I get involved with their school work. And believe me when I say that's A LOT of homework!) and 2) to ensure my children are on the receiving end of the very best educational situation for each of them (this literally means I take one school year at a time!)

3. Follow the Words of Living Prophets
These include, but are not limited to, studying the scriptures individually and as family, holding weekly family home evenings, having daily personal and family and prayer, attending church weekly, attending the temple regularly, listening to and applying General Conferences.

4. Repent or, in other words, I Can Change
I am learning that I can repent. I can change the imperfect things I am doing. I can change bad habits or learned "traditions" that breakdown or weaken my family. I can choose to do better things that no one else in the generations of my family have done. What I can change for the better today will not only bless my family now, but my family in the future, which amazingly blesses and touches my family that have already come before me.

And because I know all too well what happens to my favorite ice cream when I forget the caution to "Keep Frozen," I am learning that heeding God's warning signs to families promises His safety, His protection and His freedom. How very blessed we are as God's children to know that He loves us enough to warn us. And not just individually, but as families, for that is how He wants us to come back to Him!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Conference Pondering Quotes

How quickly General Conference comes and then goes . . .  I have a lot to apply, a lot to implement, a TON of repenting to do!!

I'm looking forward for the written word so I can mark, study, ponder, and apply and then and mark, study, ponder and apply some more!

Below are just a handful of pondering quotes because, with a houseful of nine children ages 2-16, things weren't exactly all that reverent and quiet in our home.

But, this year I surprisingly didn't have to turn on the Closed Captioning . . . :)

"The permissiveness afforded by the weakening of laws of the land to tolerate and legalize acts of immorality does not reduce the serious spiritual consequence that is the result of the violation of God's Law of Chastity.
-Boyd K. Packer

"The power of the Priesthood can bless, vitalize and revitalize our lives!"
- M. Russell Ballard

"Stay on the Lord's side and you will win every time!"
-Richard G. Scott

"Proper use of the ability to create life are vital elements in the Father's Plan.  How we feel about and use that Supernal Power will determine in large measure our happiness in mortality and our destiny in eternity."
-Elder David A. Bednar

"Marriage is a gift from God to us; The quality of our marriages is a gift of us to Him."
-Elder Whitney L. Clayton

"What words would you write to your children if you have 25 words or less?"
-Sister Rosemary M. Wixom

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Strengthening Home and Family

If I were to make a personal list of what I thought to be the greatest, most important angelic manifestations given to mankind, Gabriel's appearance and message to Mary would be included very high on my top ten five. 

Perhaps the top five two.

And Mary would be the only woman.

So this week I have been pondering the words of Elder Talmage as he compared Gabriel's visit to Zacharias  in the magnificent temple: "under the light shed from the golden candlestick, and further illuminated by the glow of living coals on the altar of gold;" to the the visit he made to Mary for "in a small town far from the capital and the temple, most probably within the walls of a simple Galilean cottage" (Jesus the Christ pg. 82, italics added).

Just as the youth of today are told by latter-day prophets that they are a chosen generation, the young women in Mary's day "knew that some Jewish maiden was yet to become the mother of the Christ" (pg. 80).   Maybe this teaching was made known under the direction of Jewish leaders in the synagogue.  But perhaps it was done more intimately, during the quiet moments at home by loving parents who knew and loved the words of holy prophets.

Is it any wonder then, why the young women recite each Sunday that they will "be prepared to strengthen home and family?"

And as Relief Society sisters part of our purpose is to "increase faith and personal righteousness" and "strengthen home and family?"

So, what if Mary were not at home that day when Gabriel stopped for a visit?

What if she were out with her girlfriends because she couldn't take the pressures of home and family?

Or, what if she were at the temple instead, taking on a "better cause" by protesting the use of precious minerals and fire or, more definitively, what if she were lobbying for rights, authority or power equal to that of Zacharias?

In January of this year, at a  BYU devotional, Sis. Elaine Dalton made this bold declaration:

"Young women, you will be the ones who will provide the example of virtuous womanhood and motherhood. You will continue to be virtuous, lovely, praiseworthy, and of good report. You will also be the ones who will provide the example of family life in a time when families are under attack, being redefined, and disintegrating. You will understand your roles and your responsibilities and thus will see no need to lobby for rights (italic added).

Indeed, as I have been pondering Gabriel's visit to Mary, I have come to realize that the sweetest, most important spiritual manifestations that have happened in my life have happened within the walls of my own home or they have been about those things that happen and can happen within those walls.  Those messages have taught (and continue to teach) me how I can increase my faith and personal righteousness and specific directions on what I need to do to strengthen my home and my family.

What more rights, authority or power do I need than that?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Spirit to Spirit

Just this week a friend said this to me: "We are closest to those with whom we share spiritual experiences."

Interestingly, I have only known her for a very short time.  And even though our friendship is new, our relationship with one another has deepened quickly because of our mutual love for the Savior, our faith in His gospel and our committed desire to live and teach His doctrine.

And I have seriously pondered her statement!! I have been reflecting upon the relationships I cherish the most and, without reservation, her statement rings true.

But why? And how come?

Can a lack of spiritual connective-ness be a (the?) main reason why otherwise good marriages dissolve?

Are spiritual experiences connected to better parent/child relationships?

Are kindred spirits an earthly joining of deep spiritual friendships once had in the pre-mortal existence?

What can I do to have better spiritual relationships with my husband?  My children?  My family? Friends?

First of all, I am not a therapist or a researcher.  Nor I understand anything about psychology.  But as I have thought about this ALL week, the following doctrine taught by President Joseph Fielding Smith allowed me to expand my understanding of the power, influence and mission of the Holy Ghost.  President Smith says:

"The convincing power of the Holy Ghost is so great that there can be no doubt that what he reveals to is us is true.  When a man (or woman) has the manifestation from the Holy Ghost, it leaves an indelible impression on his (or her) soul, one that is not easily erased.  (And I think here is the key) It is Spirit speaking to spirit, and it comes with convincing force. A manifestation of an angel, or even of the Son of God Himself, would impress the eye and mind, and eventually become dimmed, but the impressions of the Holy Ghost sink deeper into the soul and are more difficult to erase."

President Smith also taught, "Through the Holy Ghost the truth is woven into the very fibre and sinews of the body so that it cannot be forgotten."

Perhaps this is one reason why denying the Holy Ghost is an unpardonable sin . . .

But this also explains why we become closest to those with whom we share spiritual experiences.   For because pure, spiritual relationships becomes "woven into the very fibre and sinews of the body so that it cannot be forgotten."

Even when life and time can remove us from each other's earthly presence. That woven-ness of spiritual friendship is that something that always will keep a relationship most dear.

Perhaps Anne Shirley (Anne of Green Gables) had it right when she said: "Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It's splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.”

My job, then, is to be willing to share and take part in all those spiritual relationships that are out there waiting.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Family Home Evening - Restored Gospel Truths

This week, on April 6, marks the 183 years since The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized.

So here is what we did for Family Home Evening.

We gave a little historical background of the organization of The Church and then we talked about some of the truths that have been restored back to the earth through the Prophet Joseph Smith.

After our discussion, we allotted 5-7 minutes for each family member to 1) think of a restored gospel truth that has blessed their lives 2) find a scripture and/or teaching from Preach My Gospel related to that gospel truth and 3) draw a picture.

We then took turns in sharing our pictures, our scripture or a thought from Preach My Gospel, and why we have been blessed by that restored gospel truth.

And do you want to know what? Aside from being AMAZED at what my children chose and how they taught, NONE of us taught the same thing!  I found that amazing!

The Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ is amazing!!

(For younger children, you could have a picture representing different restored gospel truths and have each child choose on and then share 1) what they know about it and 2) how that restored truth has blessed your family!)

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter

Today I have rejoiced in the single. most. important. event to EVER occur in the history of mankind!  I hope you have, too!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

I Welcomed a Solicitor!

Remember THIS???

Well, I've waited FIVE. WHOLE. MONTHS. for a solicitor to knock on my door!!

And would you believe it, he knocked just moments after a small emergency arose amongst my younger children . . .

and seconds after my youngest threw off her diaper and was running willy-nilly all over the house. . .

and at the very point when the roux was at it's toasting perfection on the stove . . .

And to be totally honest when I peered out the peephole and saw it was a salesman, I was almost tempted to let the dog bark and the children scream and not even acknowledge the doorbell had rang - twice. . .

But I had waited for SO long to have a missionary experience like this.

So after managing to have my diaperless munchkin whisked away right as I opened the door, here's how the conversation went down:

Me (throwing the door wide open): Why, Hello!

Solicitor: Hello!

Me: What can I do for you today?

Solicitor: Well, I'm out here in the neighborhood today working on my salesmanship skills.

Me: How wonderful!

Solicitor: And I couldn't help noticing the sign on your door.

Me (smiling, because that's exactly a kind of line I used as a missionary): Well, what do you know about The the Church of of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

Solicitor (sorta surprised I asked him a question): Uh, I'm from Missouri and I'm Christian.

Me: We are Christians, too.  And we, like you, believe in the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Did you get a chance to look over some of the doctrines in which we believe.

Solicitor: A little.

So I point to the list of doctrines and ask him if there is one in particular in which he would be interested in learning more about and he points to "Eternal Families."

Solicitor: What does that mean?  I've never heard of that before.

Me: Well, we believe that families can be a forever unit even after death when it is performed by someone who holds the proper authority from God.

Solicitor: Wow!

And I shared a little more and then about that time I kind of felt bad that I was dominating his sales opportunity so I invited him to share what he was selling - which was magazine subscriptions and I regretted to inform him that I don't subscribe to ANY magazines (which is a true fact, except we do subscribe to the Church magazines, but it escaped my mind to mention those because about that time I heard my diaperless beauty screaming from the other room).  And that's when he realized he wasn't going to get a sale out of me . . .

"But wait!" I said, as he look really dejected as he started to turn and walk away, "I have something just for YOU! So wait. right. there."  And ran and got a picture of the Savior and a pass along card and handed it to him!

And after he left I thought of a whole lot of things I could have said or could have said better . . . and when I walked into the kitchen I didn't even care that my roux was now burning!

So media missionaries out there, if some guy from Missouri calls and says he got a pass along card from some crazy with a "We Welcome Solicitors" sign on her door, tell him to send some more of his salemates my way!

I'm willing to perfect my missionary skills!

Monday, February 18, 2013

How to spell OBEYS

I just figured out how to spell OBEYS!!

O. Be. Y's . . . What can I say more? (see Jacob 6:12).

Sunday, January 20, 2013